Self-portrait with mother

Maria Tobola &

A still frontal shot opens up the scene with an image of two well-dressed women in a tender embrace. Their resemblance, reinforced by the title of the piece, leads the viewer to identify them as mother and daughter. This perfect picture is completed by setting of the middle-class affluence: the floral upholstery on the sofa and the flickering of the fireplace generate the feeling of safety and snugness of a family country house. The viewer is lulled by the stereotypical representation of family happiness until the moment the women start kissing. Their prolonged sensual mouth-to-mouth exchange surpasses all filial-parental expectations. All of a sudden, the initially perfect picture catapults the viewer into the realm of the taboo of incest. Where is the line between healthy familial affection and sexual abuse?

Practically every culture regards sexual relationships between people related by blood as both a social taboo and a criminal offense. However, the degrees of affection vary considerably between cultures: in some, parents share a bed with their offspring and exhibit other types of close physical contact; others are characterized by a larger emotional and physical distance between parents and children. Maria Tobola asks the viewer to consider the boundaries of permissible parental affection and decide whether it is possible to harm someone with too much love. (Olena Chervonik)

About the video

Title Self-portrait with mother
Year 2009
Videonale VIDEONALE.13
Length 00:01:52
Format 16:9
Country Poland,
Language No dialog
Courtesy the artist
Specifications color, no sound, single-channel video

About the artist

Maria Tobola
  • 1987 in Leszno, POL.
    Studied at Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, POL

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