Visualizing Pregnancy in Mari Chordà’s Pregnant Self Portraits

Mari Chordà, Autorretrat embarassada, novè mes
(Pregnant Self Portrait, Ninth Month), 1966
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A contemporary Catalan artist born in 1942, Mari Chordà has been an important artist in Spain’s feminist movement. She is well-known for her paintings of the vagina, as well as for her taboo representations of female sexuality more broadly. However, Chordà has also explored themes of birth, pregnancy, and creation in her artwork.

In a series of paintings called Pregnant Self Portraits, which the artist painted between 1966-67, Chordà modeled her own pregnant body when creating the works. All of the paintings depict large colorful shapes that represent themes of pregnancy and maternity. The forms on the painting are abstract with rounded edges, colored in a variety of reds and pinks.
Rather than depicting pregnancy itself, Chordà’s paintings often remind the viewer of the internal womb and of the sensation and fullness of pregnancy.

One of the paintings, Autorretrat embarassada, novè mes (Pregnant Self Portrait, Ninth Month) (above) also brings to mind the fullness of a woman’s breasts and the way a woman’s belly swells towards the end of her pregnancy. Looking at Chordà’s paintings remind pregnant viewers of their own fullness and fertility as they carry new life, as well as their ability to nurture the pregnant body.

To learn more about the work of Mari Chordà, read her 2015 interview with the Tate Museum.