Why is it so rare to find birth depicted in terms of the framework of the sublime? And why, instead, do we so often find both pregnancy and the processes of birth idealised as beautiful or treated as grotesque? In order to answer this question, Christine Battersby will focus on Marc Quinn’s ‘birth works’, most especially his 2008 sculptural installation Evolution that portrayed the growth of the human foetus in nine developmental and monumental stages.
Christine Battersby is Reader Emerita in Philosophy and Associate Fellow of The Centre for Philosophy, Literature and The Arts at the University of Warwick. She is the author of The Sublime, Terror and Human Difference (Routledge, 2007); The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Patterns of Identity (Polity/Routledge, 1998); and Gender and Genius: Towards a Feminist Aesthetics (The Women’s Press, 1989/1994). Having also authored numerous articles on feminist philosophy, and on women writers and artists, she is currently working on a number of topics relating to natality; the sublime and the grotesque; and ‘race’ in the history of philosophy.