“Lil Picard: I see you are a collector of Art Deco objects. Why?
Hannah Wilke: I’ve always collected things. Objects have always been important for me. But the older I get the less I need things, especially since I am concerned with my work now. I haven’t been really colJecttng much lately. My work is my collection; the small sculptures replaced the objects that had been made by society, and my work is more important now than any objects I might collect. My own works are my icons.”
excerpt of Picard, Lil. “Hannah Wilke: Sexy Objects.” Andy Warhol’s lnterview, January 1973.
“Goddard: In the beginning, she gave me a lot of direction. But then as time went on, she hardly said a thing. She would go from one place to another. She would go up a ladder, and I would take a picture from below. She would lie down with a gun in her hand as if she were dead. She would arrange herself in relation to the space she was in and how she wanted the composition to be. Eventually, I sort of knew what she wanted, so she didn’t have to say anything.
Takemoto: When did you start filming for the Intra- Venus Tapes? Did Hannah have a clear sense of what and how she wanted things documented, or did the filming become a more organic and ordinary aspect of your lives?
Goddard: In 1990 Hannah and I were in East Hampton. We had a rented house out there for the summer. We went to P. C. Richard and Son to buy some electronic equipment for our vacation, including a video camera and a TV set. Hannah just wanted to document her life and her friends. So that’s what we did. There was nothing planned about it. Of course, Hannah did a lot of performing – informal stuff, mugging and performing for the camera. Many of our friends and relatives are in the tapes, and we shot a lot of footage in the hospital. I remember when we went into the hospital for her bone-marrow transplant. I didn’t videotape the visit, but that’s when we started taking still photographs. Hannah was supposed to put on all these things that connected to her body for some kind of test, a cardiogram or something. The connectors were red with many wires and clips. Hannah thought they were wonderful against her skin and the blue-green gown and got very excited about the visual possibilities. That was one of the first pictures we took for the Intra-Venus still photographs.
Takemoto: Making work about illness sometimes produces the feeling of agency, as if you are somehow fighting illness by transforming it into something else. Do you think this resonated for Hannah? Was there a sense of urgency around making these pictures or documenting as much as possible as a way of slowing down time?
Goddard: I suppose. It was a way of measuring time. The idea was that Hannah was going to show all this work, and the name of the exhibition was going to be “Cured.” So she was always thinking about the work that way. We also looked into therapeutic possibilities: macrobiotic diet, nutritional regimens of various kinds, and alternative doctors and treatments. She read a lot and exercised a lot. Perhaps, all of that is a way of trying to slow down the inevitable. You are doing things that fill your life. It’s as desperate as life is. Life is always desperate. But it was a matter of living rather than dying. Making art was really about living.“
excerpt of Looking through Hannah’s Eyes: Interview with Donald Goddard, conducted by Tina Takemoto, in Art Journal, Vol. 67, No. 2, 2008