Anna Pedersen

Taking a stand

Challenging female urination through a South Korean lens

When urine leaves the body, it connects the internal with the external. The space between the two is no longer a void, but a bodily function for men and women alike.
South Korean artist Jia Chang confronts her audience with a mix of beauty, shock and vulgarity through her work "Standing Up Peeing" bridging not only the gap between internal and external, but also between male and female.


Standing Up Peeing 3 & 4 - Two images from the Jia Chang-exhibition "Omerta" at the Walsh Gallery in Chicago, USA. Jia CHANG


Peeing while standing is generally something done by men. Upright urination is regarded as a male-gendered action - at least according to social norms and standards. Jia Chang's 'Standing Up Peeing'(2006) is a collection of six photographs depicting nude women pissing (themselves). In other words, a blatant protest of societal standards.
The South Korean artist works with both video, installation and photography, utilizing the beauty of the female bod to address social taboos and double standards in a way that is both startling and aesthetically pleasing.

The photographs of women pissing is a great example of this. The large format of the images and the stark colour contrast of the works makes for a series of beautiful nudes, whilst almost obscuring the bodily fluid and at the same time showing nothing but urination.


Standing Up Peeing, Exhibition view - You can find more information on the Korea Artist Prize website Jia CHANG, Korea Artist Prize

By dealing with the body as both a sensory system and a personal manifestation, rather than as a cultural product that reflects the social norms, Chang's work is largely to be associated with feminist art. However, by using her artistic imagination to expose taboos relevant to all human bodies, Jia Chang transcends the limits of classification and explores the broader boundaries of art.