new exhibitions

171 Union St, SE1 0LN
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Mon-Fri 10-5, Sat-Sun 10-3

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Jan 15 - Apr 28, 2018
Right Twice a Day is a new sculptural work by Glasgow-based artist, Rachel Adams. Its design is a culmination of features drawn from a traditional grandfather clock and The Maiden, a guillotine that was used between the 16th and 18th centuries as a means of execution in Edinburgh, Scotland. The work responds to the context of The School House by bringing together two historical references: the concept of the modern restaurant, which was born during the French revolution, and decimal time, which was enforced for a short period during the Terror, shortly afterwards.

Jan 17 - Mar 11, 2018
Alejandra Carles-Tolra, Sam Laughlin and Lua Ribeira.
press release

Feb 19, 2018 7:00pm - 8:30pm talk/event
A talk by Maria Walsh exploring the performative dimension of artists’ moving image works in which therapeutic techniques and discourses are used to generate effects that circulate beyond individual psycho-physiologies and instead enact a critical relation to neoliberal discourses of self-affirmation. This shift towards a social critique of therapeutic discourse in artists’ work contrasts with the reception of therapy discourse in art in the 1990s, whereby art historian Hal Foster bewailed its use by artists such as Sue Williams, comparing it to reality TV chat shows in which trauma narratives of damaged subjectivities were proclaimed as the truth of authentic experience. On the one hand, this situation has exacerbated today as the injunction to speak one’s truth which has devolved into a desirable form of micro-celebrity in which everyone can be an actor or protagonist in their own drama. However, on the other hand, rather than the truth of a damaged body, the therapeutic subject characteristic of our neoliberal era has been deemed to be in control of their desire and will to change, but paradoxically, be in need of cognitive retraining to achieve this transformation.
Artists have both mined and critiqued the ethos of ‘therapy culture’. Artists such as Gillian Wearing walk a fine line between taking a vicarious interest in the pathological public sphere, referred to by Mark Selzter as ‘wound culture’ (1997), taking a more reflective approach to this phenomenon. More recently, Wearing’s 2010 experimental documentary film ‘Self-Made’ posited a productive tension between a performative acting out of trauma and a use of method acting techniques to objectify and/or manufacture experience. In a different but related context, artist Oriana Fox created and hosted her own reality TV therapy chat show, ‘The O Show’ (2011-ongoing), episodes of which were performed live for an art audience and broadcast simultaneously online. Fox claims the work is about the therapeutic potential of performance, yet it also generates a conflictual space in which the neoliberal impetus towards self-improvement is both advocated and critiqued. In straddling a fine line between authenticity and parody, works such as these extend Judith Butler’s 1990s concept of performativity which held that identity norms can be resignified by the repetitive iteration of learned behaviours and rituals. This talk will explore whether moving image works that enact a parodic staging of therapeutic techniques present a manipulative capitulation to norms and or/self-exploitation, or propose a transformative logic that is beyond the neoliberal injunction to perform well.
To accompany the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards, a series of events have been programmed to further explore the themes and issues that are raised in the three artists’ body of works. Maria Walsh’s invitation to talk about performativity and therapeutics in relation to moving image/performative practices has been motivated by Lua Ribeira’s allegorical exploration of the inevitable decay of the human body and psychological ‘heaviness’.
Dr. Maria Walsh is a Reader in Artists’ Moving Image at Chelsea College of Arts. Her monograph Art and Psychoanalysis was published in 2012. She is an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal MIRAJ Moving Image Review and Art Journal and was Guest Editor of the ‘Feminisms’ double issue which included her article ‘From Critique to Resistance to Autonomy: Alex Bag Meets Ann Hirsch’, MIRAJ, Vol. 4:1 & 2, 2016: 13-41. Other peer-review articles on independent cinema, film philosophy and artists’ moving image have been published in Screen, Rhizomes, Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Refractory and NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies as well as chapters to a number of books on moving image including Screen/Space: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art, 2011. She is currently working on a monograph on the screen as a performative site of therapeutic encounter and critique.
This event is free to attend. Booking is required via Eventbrite.

Feb 26, 2018 7:00pm - 8:30pm talk/event
What happens when images, ideas and aesthetics are recycled, without retaining the beliefs or highlighting the context that gave them their initial charge? What happens when communities simultaneously forget and rediscover a shared history? This talk by Flora Dunster, PhD candidate at the University of Sussex in Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies, considers the Sex Wars as a turning point for organised feminism, and situates them against a renewed interest in feminist politics and lesbian iconography.
From the late 1970s to the 1990s, the representation of women and the politics of pornography galvanized debate in feminist and lesbian circles. Sex radical dykes embraced what were seen as perverse desires, while radical and revolutionary feminists rallied against them. Known as the Sex Wars, these debates stretched to encompass other practices that could be understood as patriarchal, or mimicking masculine behaviour: S/M, butch/femme identification, and penetration were cast as liberatory and taboo in equal measure.
The art and imagery which emerged from the Sex Wars are linked to these politics. Increasingly, such images are being re-circulated through social media, or cannibalised for their slogans and iconography. Now shared through digital platforms and printed on t-shirts and badges, their histories are elided, while in the post-Trump and post-Weinstein resurgence of popular feminism, the debates they marked are reconstituted with new emphases.
To accompany the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards, a series of events have been programmed to further explore the themes and issues that are raised in the three artists’ body of works. Flora Dunster’s invitation to talk about the legacies of the lesbian ‘sex wars’ has been motivated by Alejandra Carles-Tolra’s engagement with the ‘Jane Austen Pineapple Appreciation Society’.
Flora Dunster is a PhD candidate at the University of Sussex in Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies. Her research considers ideas of fantasy in the art and imagery of the Sex Wars, with a focus on London in the late 1980s. A chapter on photographer Tessa Boffin and the development of British queer theory is forthcoming in the anthology Speak, Body: Art, the Reproduction of Capital and the Reproduction of Life.
This event is free to attend. Booking is required via Eventbrite.

Mar 8, 2018 7:00pm - 8:30pm talk/event
Alejandra Carles-Tolra, Sam Laughlin and Lua Ribeira discuss their Jerwood/Photoworks Awards commissions with Karen McQuaid.
Karen McQuaid is Senior Curator at The Photographers’ Gallery, London. She has curated exhibitions including Jim Goldberg, Open See (2009); Fiona Tan, Vox Populi, London (2012); Andy Warhol, Photographs: 1976 – 1987 (2014); Lorenzo Vitturi, Dalston Anatomy (2014) and Rosângela Rennó, Río-Montevideo (2016). She has co-curated Geraldo De Barros, What Remains (2013) with Isobel Whitelegg and Made You Look, Dandyism and Black Masculinity (2016) with Ekow Eshun. She has recently edited The New Colonists by Monica Alcazar-Duarte which is due for release in January 2018. Karen has curated external exhibitions at The Moscow House of Photography and The National Gallery of Kosovo. She regularly participates in international workshops, writes for photography publications and edits artists books. She also guest lectures across the UK.
This event is free to attend. Booking is required via Eventbrite.


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