Carole P. Kunstadt, “Ovum”
Artist: Carole P. Kunstadt (New York, NY)
Title: OVUM (2013)
Medium/technique(s): fur (a repurposed vintage muff), fragments of text covering an ostrich egg (Woman of the Nineteenth Century, by Margaret Fuller Ossoli, dated 1855)
Edition size: Unique
Dimensions: 6.5 x 10 x 10″
OVUM takes physical, material, and intellectual inspiration from Margaret Fuller Ossoli’s Woman In The Nineteenth Century, and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition and Duties, of Woman. Boston, 1855.
Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1810 – 1850) was an educator, social reformer, transcendentalist, critic, abolitionist, the first American female correspondent and woman’s rights advocate. One of her most significant works Woman in the Nineteenth Century is considered the first major feminist work in the United States, first published in 1845. In it she argued that “we would have every path laid open to Woman as freely as to Man.”
An ostrich egg, wrapped in fragments of text from the 1855 essay Woman in the Nineteenth Century, is nestled in black fur reconstructed from an antique muff (hand warmer). The muff largely fell out of fashion in the 19th Century and so parallels Fuller’s writings criticizing the restricted role of women in society. She challenges existing ideas and explores the essence of gender in her writings of the 1840’s, giving birth to the idea of empowerment of women, a “fullness of being” for both men and women and ultimately feminist ideals.