The last week has been packed full of artist talks including an Introduction to Feminist Art by Helena Reckitt at the Frieze Academy and Marina Abramovic’s talk at The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre. I seemed to have taken a distinct interest in the female voice but what’s interesting is Helena is a writer and analyst of female artists and feminist art whilst Marina explores the physical and mental limits of her being using her body as both her subject and medium. I found Helena’s talk exciting and innovative but had never categorised feminism into waves of movement which is how she led and was able to categorise the mass of information to us as the audience. What was particularly interesting was how female artists are categorised by their gender and not their art work, they are instantly put into the box of ‘woman artist.’ This has become a continuous problem for woman artists and I’m not entirely sure if this is a problem for me personally. I don’t consider myself a true feminist and my work does not explore feminism; however I am a female artist, fact and have began to explore the body, materiality and performance in my current work. Therefore am I then becoming categorised? or am I categorizing myself as the woman as subject, the woman as object?
The body can become materially grounded and using my own body feels the most natural and organic choice of material in my current development of work. My experience on the residency led me to work with my body and re-visit sculptural processes that engage with a performative presence. When I started casting my nipples and belly button I questioned why in particular did I choose to work with these elements of the body; their familiarity was the pivotal focus, how they can be associated with both a male and female body. This then raises the question of gender binarism. The work I will be exhibiting as part of the residency is an exploration of the body and therefore are ‘body studies,’ the work is a study of my body.
During our discussion about the performance and the structure of the work we instantly came to the conclusion that this body of work emphasises a performative installation. I have been exploring a daily action and body fluid of urine on canvas, challenging the conceptions of the public and private exceptions. Over the last six weeks I have documented six urine actions walking directly across canvas but this has been done in a private setting of exploring a repetitive action and residue of traces. The artist and muse, this residency explores how I am the muse to my current work which then raises the question of how ‘the personal is political.’ This performance draws attention and focus to its associated key words; the action, gender, material and duration. After working directly in private, what became apparent was how I would transfer this work to the public and introduce a live action where my body is present but my mind becomes absent.