Mithu Sen’s untitled teeth sculpture brings to mind the myth of vagina dentata or the ‘toothed vagina’. Expressing man’s fear of castration during the act of copulation, this myth warns of the dangers of sex with women. Confronted with the sculpture, viewers enter a psychological state similar to the fearful men as they watch this female orifice fraught with jagged threats.
Sen uses wit as she takes the ultimate male horror to the point of absolute nightmarish hysteria only to hold it up to the audience as a sculptural frieze. Fear of castration escalates to the level of the impossible, and the fetishization of the fear becomes comical. The work can be read as a caution against women, but also as a caution against the stereotyping of women as the praying mantis that seduces the male of the species but is also dangerous and fatal for him.