by Szymon Pawlik
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ENDO[F] ME

Endometriosis: Our Hysteria

HERstory of Art Museum, Krakow, Poland (14 - 30 July 2022)

Curated by Marta Grabowska

"I am and have always been hysterical. I had my first period at the age of 13 - I was bleeding non-stop, it hurt like hell, and anaemia wouldn't let me live. "Till the first pregnancy.", “You make it up!”, “Too much of this and that..." - they said. 14 years later, it turned out that I have endometriosis - a disease ignored for centuries as so-called "women's pain." I am one of 176 million people in the world who have endometriosis. Endometriosis is quietly eating me from the inside out, and I continue to wander between gynaecological offices. I invite you to visit one of them."
 

ENDO[F] ME is a multi-sensory exhibition that simulates a visit to a surreal space of a gynaecologist's office, where candy-like and kitsch elements of the exposition are intertwined with afterimages of pain, exclusion, and fear. 

 

It's also an attempt to confront the trauma of medical misogyny and gaslighting of women and people with uteri and to confront the topic of the invisible disability that is endometriosis. "What hurts? After all, it's normal!", "It's just your nature." - many times these are the words patients are dismissed with during the diagnostic process of the disease. "You're hysterical!" - hear others. Hysteria, as we know, is an affliction of overly emotional and sensitive people. The etymology of this word can be found nowhere else than in the female body, because hysteria, from Greek "hystera", means uterus. Interestingly, the doctors who metaphorically stand guard over the patriarchy are not always men. It also seems symptomatic that phrases such as "medical misogyny" or "gaslighting," which are indispensable in discussing the issues raised by HYSTERA, are virtually untranslatable into Polish, therefore remain taboo. 

 

Endometriosis becomes the protagonist of the exhibition – a visual essay,  from which it is impossible to look away. 

HYSTERA creates a safe and brave place where it is allowed to scream, cry, curse, bleed too much, and speak openly about menstrual dramas and related social injustices! 

 

Let's be hysterical together.

 

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