I have written before about how the entire underground system is an art gallery. This new art by Liv Strömquist in several stations of the Stockholm underground is….interesting.
Here is some of it.
I have VERY mixed feelings about it.
My parents were products of their time I guess. I never saw either of them naked, never had a discussion with them about sex and barely knew what a period is when I started mine. In addition I was educated in a convent where there was no sex education, no talk of periods, or relationships or anything. The whole concept of sex was shameful and periods were called ‘being unwell’. We were told that we couldn’t swim or wash our hair when we had a period or use tampons until we were married etc etc. There was no Google or YouTube for those questions you were embarrassed to ask out loud. I had period problems for years but it was not something you talked about so I didn’t realise that it was common and easily remedied.
So from that perspective I am glad that there is an openness today about bodily functions such as menstruation. I am thrilled that YouTube, Wikipedia, and Google exist to help people navigate their changing bodies and things that sometimes go wrong when you have your period.
On the other hand, however, I am not sure that enormous pictures like this are what I want to be faced with on my daily commute. Not on my own behalf, but on behalf of all the people of all cultures, religions, countries, nationality and ages who travel through these stations daily. I think of how these photographs would make my mother feel, or elderly people, or people from more conservative cultures who feel that this should be seen and discussed in private. I am sure there are parents of young children who wished to have that conversation at the right time and place for their family instead being forced to discuss it on a crowded train platform during rush hour. I could understand it more in a regular art gallery where people have the choice of whether to see the exhibition or not. I would definitely go and see it.
I feel the same about going to the toilet. We all do it, we all know we do it, we talk about it sometimes, and it is natural and healthy, but I wouldn’t want to see photographs of it as I wait for my train. Even adverts for sanitary products use blue liquid to demonstrate their products.
What do you think?