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The Loud, Mixed-Media Artwork of Hysteria

The term "hysteria" was once used to diagnose women with a wide spectrum of psychological symptoms. The now-antiquated word recalls the panicked, feverish protagonists of 19th-century realist novels like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, and is inextricably linked to a Victorian-era depiction of femininity and all the harmful stereotypes that came along with it. The British all-female art collective Hysteria flips their moniker on its head. Their name is an ironic nod to their Riot Grrrl sensibilities as well as an apt characterization of the effect of their dizzying, mixed-media artwork.

The term “hysteria” was once used to diagnose women with a wide spectrum of psychological symptoms. The now-antiquated word recalls the panicked, feverish protagonists of 19th-century realist novels like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, and is inextricably linked to a Victorian-era depiction of femininity and all the harmful stereotypes that came along with it. The British all-female art collective Hysteria flips their moniker on its head. Their name is an ironic nod to their Riot Grrrl sensibilities as well as an apt characterization of the effect of their dizzying, mixed-media artwork.

Hysteria is made up of Collagism, Aida Wilde and Shuby — three artists who join forces to create canvases, street art and installations that combine screen printing, collage and painting. Their work is pulpy and provocative, appropriating the language of advertising and pop culture to create loud, psychedelic visuals. Bare legs and high heels are offset by tiger and shark heads; pretty, Rococo gowns are made humorous when donned by cartoons rabbits. These disparate elements come together in a frenzy of vibrant shapes and colors that dominate whatever space they inhabit.

Hysteria currently has an exhibition at Maison Bertaux in London through June 15.

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