In her work, Rosler offers incisive social and political commentary balanced by a combination of wit and criticality. In influential projects she has explored the boundaries between the public and private spheres, examined the effects of global politics on everyday life, and commented on the patriarchal nature of society.
She Sees in Herself a New Woman Every Day is composed of twelve color photographs of a woman’s shoes and legs accompanied by an audio recording of a woman having an imaginary talk with her mother. Challenging the tradition of documentary photography, the work exemplifies Rosler’s subversive use of the photographic image, such as manipulating and reinserting it in mass media in her seminal work House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, in Vietnam (1967–72) or, here, pointing the camera downward and placing the images “off the wall,” accompanied by a spoken text. Rosler tells the one-sided conversation in first-person narration, describing childhood memories that include hiding in a closet full of her mother’s “wonderful shoes” to avoid going to school. She uses the combination of her narration and images of her own body to critically examine perceptions of female identity. Rosler describes the development of a persona that was and is affected by—yet cannot conform to—conventional ideas of how women ought to look, think, and behave.
Gallery label from Performing Histories: Live Artworks Examining the Past, September 12, 2012–March 8, 2013.