The Escape Artist - Window Installation by Savannah Schroll Guz


Women’s daily experience was tremendously influenced by the corset and its impact on the skeleton and organs, such as lungs, intestines, and uterus. Not only did it permanently alter body shape, in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth centuries, miscarriages were sometimes caused by the continued use of a corset during pregnancy. Savannah Schroll Guz’s “The Escape Artist” installation—whose central figure has a magician’s characteristic sparkle and glitter—explores the corset’s effect on women’s bodies in this era of Houdini, and it points to women’s eventual liberation from the corset's constriction through post-WWI fashion changes.

 

Artist Statement

My works, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional, explore individual histories and the ways in which these personal histories contribute to collective memory. I’m particularly fascinated by vintage photographs, particularly of women and the ways in which they present themselves or are represented. I collect vintage photographs and often use these, along with period advertisements, as a springboard for my own creative works, which explore the psychological realities I perceive in these women’s expressions and body language. I am especially interested in Victorian, Progressive-era, and 1920s culture, as these were periods of seismic change for women. My “Women in Water” ink drawing series, my graphic novel The Color of Silence is Radium Green, and “The Escape Artist” window installation reflect these ongoing interests.