Halfway up the stairs a projection of a woman wearing a dildo and fronting a rock band confronts you. Who is she? What is she singing (for the projection is silent)? It kind of doesn’t matter.
This is the feminist art exhibition ‘Of Other Spaces: Where does gesture become event?’ taking place at Cooper Gallery in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. A carefully curated display of artefacts of activism. There are letters, statements, slides, zines, posters… many uncredited due to the lack of intention at the time of there ever being an exhibition like this. This isn’t art made with a mainstream audience in mind, but art made in spite of the risk that it would never break out of a small group of isolated women. Art made because it had to be made. Art as art therapy, as angst, as activism.
This idea runs throughout the exhibition. An uncredited note from an essay entitled ‘Feminist Art – a Paradox’ carries the lines: “For me this is what feminism means, understanding where we are in the system/society and making moves to change that position by coming together as Wimmin.” A snippet of audio plays as I walk past, “We said who is this art for? It’s for us.”
Of course, some artists are credited. There’s Susan Hiller and her automatic writing portraits, Alexis Hunter smearing paint or ink onto the genitals of a photographed man, Georgina Starr having a dialogue with a puppet version of herself… but the overall effect is one of collective action, artists with a shared purpose, a struggle for women’s equality and emancipation that is bigger than the individual.
There’s a lot of time to see this exhibition and I, for one, will definitely be returning. One visit is not enough.
The exhibition will be on until December 16, with a 12-hour Action Group taking place on December 3 from 11am to 11pm.
Words: Ana Hine
Images: Georgina Starr, Alexis Hunter, Su Richardson, Susan Hiller
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