5 March - 9 March, 2019
The Swiss Church
Opening event with live
Tuesday 5 March 6.30-9.30pm
Reading group FDRG
Wednesday 6 March 7-10pm
Thursday 7 March 7-10pm
Saturday 9 March 11-8pm
Exhibition opening times
Wednesday to Friday 11-6pm and Saturday 11-8pm
The table carries a variety of differing associations. It evokes images of domestic intimacy, as well as ideas about horizontality and democracy. By default, however, it also represents methods of hierarchisation and exclusion – Who gets a seat at the table?
Containing the potential to facilitate spaces of equality as well as of discrimination, the table simultaneously embodies mechanisms of both inclusion and exclusion.
A large wooden table is at the centre of the exhibition. It lays the foundations for realising the project: artworks, performances, video screenings, readings and workshops aim at working through these dichotomies present in our everyday lives. Considering the exhibition space as a site of production of knowledge rather than display, The Table is an experiment to activate the exhibition towards a place of discussion, collectivism and community.
In order to support art practices informed by intersectional feminism, postcolonial studies and queer theory, we must resist colonial and heteronormative models of display and create alternative methodologies. In this context, it seems necessary that the exhibition space should lend itself to action. Developed in collaboration with artists Laura Mallows, Hannah Wilson, Rosa Johan Uddoh, Emily Perry and Munesu Mukombe, the artworks were made in response to the table as a site of social inter/action.
The table as the site of domestic labour: Laura Mallow’s jelly sculptures, ceramic plates, Venus Vases, flowers and herbs form a display of feminised work as well as feminine fantasies and parodies which are explored by blurring the line between cooking and witchcraft - healing and care as power that empowers women within and beyond the domestic space.
The table as a site for female representation: Hannah Wilson’s clay sculptures celebrate beauty in all types of female bodies. They represent unapologetic women who are queer, bold and big, full of autonomous personality, whilst simultaneously forming autobiographical portraits.
The table as the site of female performativity: Emily Perry’s performance A General (Ch)air of Malaise, is set at a dinner party. One woman holds a knife and fork in her hands and checks her teeth in the table’s reflective surface. Two women move towards the table at once; they both politely stop and gesture to let the other go first. The cycle is stopped by another woman who walks towards the table. They smile, they never interrupt the conversation, they scan the table (as if checking everyone has wine), they read the room.
The table as the site for normativity, policing and civilising: Rosa Johan Uddoh’s performance The Belly of the World takes place during dinner, between the social expectations of her behaviour at the dinner table and a morsel of chicken’s journey through her digestive system - passing and mapping the history (past and present) of the black woman’s belly.
The table as the site for empathy, solidarity and self-identification: Munesu Mukombe’s performance I need you more, thats life itself is a love letter to the other in search of self-identification and recognition. It asks to participate in a culture that, like a mirage, is always in the distance. Using desire as a focal point she discusses the need and want for other black woman in and out of white spaces.
The Feminist Duration Reading Group will bring to the table the opportunity to study little-known and underappreciated feminist texts, movements and struggles from outside the Anglo-American feminist tradition. During this session, Elif Sarican will introduce Kurdish feminisms.
Following the same line of thought, the screening of video works was organised through an open call, in an attempt to be diverse in the themes that are being considered feminist here. The evening will feature works by Helen Brewer, Alexis Calvas, Beth Perkin, Korallia Stergides, Alyona Larionova, Antonia Luxem, Emma Prempeh, Helga Dorothea Fannon, Sabrina Fuller, Gabrielle Le Bayon and Hannah Beadman. These works share in common a celebration of storytelling and first-person narration of women’s lives, fantasies and experiences, but also intergenerational care and sharing of knowledge, particularly within the family and the domestic space. Moreover, there is a dreamlike fluidity of imagination and positivity that is invigorating throughout. During an informal discussion with Zaiba Jabbar, these common elements will be explored in parallel with the ideas laid out by The Table, with a view to creating space for a multiplicity of voices in the arts and beyond.
To conclude the week of events, there are workshops: Life Drawing with artist Hannah Wilson, Recipes Against Patriarchy with artist Laura Mallows, and Digital Empathy: Fighting with 'grrrr' and 😠 with curator Jorge Van Den Eynde. These endeavour to resolve many of the questions raised here and through participatory and performative experiments. The Table hopes to bring together a community of shared interests and concerns to be continued and developed collaboratively.
Support by the Swiss Church and Goldsmiths University