Exhibitions are a tool, not the result. Art should open up for a democratic dialog and rethink the ‘ordinary’ exhibition practises. Martha Rosler: “art make difference to a social movement only when it is made in cognizance of those movements.” . Exhibition making can be a model of resistance, a tool and not the result.
A Voice of One’s Own
voice [vois] verb (used with object), voiced, voic·ing.
18. to give utterance or expression to; declare; proclaim: to voice one’s discontent.
sub·vert, [suhb-vurt] verb (used with object)
1. to overthrow (something established or existing).
2. to cause the downfall, ruin, or destruction of.
3. to undermine the principles of; corrupt.
A Voice of One’s Own, an exhibition which questions, undermines and overthrows the patriarchal principles of society by giving voice to the concerns of six student feminist artists and three zine contributors.
Rebecca Bartola makes a strong statement about the underrepresentation of women and diversity with her We Are the 50% posters. She gives voice to the achievements of key women warriors, scientists and explorers who have otherwise been ignored by history. Phillipa Ogden rewrites the tragic endings of novels about revolutionary female characters, concluding instead with messages of hope. She illustrates these alternative endings with a depiction of a room where the characters could meet and share their stories. This safe space appears as initially domestic but becomes subverted by appropriation; a symbol of oppression becomes a symbol of revolution. Tuli Litvak’s performance piece Liberty presents an overcoming of silence through use of the voice and body. At first, Tuli is denied the ability to make sound, but finds empowerment in realising her voice and letting it grow louder.
Catherine Long speaks out against the objectification and problematic representation of women in the media. Her video, Breast Meat, combines the abject with humour, thus subverting the beauty ideals women are expected to achieve. Liv Thurley’s Weapon, was made in response to a statement she overheard from a man who said he would never have sex with a woman who had pubic hair. In turning an irrational aversion to pubic hair into a literal fear, Thurley highlights the absurdity of this statement and undermines it. Viviana Sciara uses the nude female body in her work to challenge the way it is often used as an over-sexualised object most clearly expressed in To dust You shall return. In Portrait of Life and Death, Sciara explores the complex relationship between mother and child and the notion of motherhood, which at times can be fraught with tensions.
The DIY culture of zines goes hand-in-hand with the subversive nature of feminism and empowers women to develop their own political voice. QUEERPO (‘cuerpo’ meaning ‘body’ in Spanish) by Berta López Diáz challenges accepted ideas of identity, sexuality and gender in society; Jūratė Gačionytė’s Women’s Wear: Body Hair empowers women to celebrate their body hair and breaks down accepted notions of beauty ideals; and Sydney Johnson’s Mind the Pay Gap frankly exposes the inequality in pay between men and women. The zine artist’s contributions are integral to our exhibition, and as such, a copy of each zine is presented as an art piece. However, a copy of each is also available for reading to support the themes of accessibility and knowledge sharing which are central to the history of zines.
Featuring the work of:
And zines by:
Berta López Diáz
Facebook: ArtsFems (formerly UAL Feminist Society)