London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983
244 pp., 2.4 x 19.2 x 23.9 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown
Conceived as an installation in six consecutive sections, Kelly's Post-Partum Document is a six-year exploration of the mother-child relationship. When it was first exhibited in 1976 at the ICA in London, the work provoked tabloid outrage because of the inclusion of dirty diaper liners (see below). The diapers, or nappies, were encased in plastic, one for each day of her son's 4th to 6th month. Each was printed with the time and type of feedings, and the amount the child excreted.
Moving between the voices of the mother, child and analytic observer, the work presented six parts, each focusing on a formative moment in her son’s early life: his discovery of language, her own sense of loss, etc.
"Central for its theoretical breadth, textual complexity and thoroughness of analysis is Mary Kelly's Post-Partum Document (1973-79). . . . Implicit in Kelly's remarkably contained analytic work is an argument for the social construction of subjectivity in a striking indictment of essential femininity."
-Kate Linker, "Parachute"