This collection of works considers the sometimes overlooked, but no less significant, experiences pertaining to gendered space, professionalism, the importance of gender visibility, as well as the desire not to be seen.
These videos by Lucy Clout; Women in Manual Trades; and Vanalyne Green, and film by Rosalind Nashashibi, access such subjects with diverse and subversive approaches, and cast light over ideas and issues of public space and women’s experience within it, which often fall between the cracks.
Curated by Alice Lea, first shown at LUX in June 2016.
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Lucy Clout, From Our Own Correspondent, 2015, HD video, colour, sound, UK / USA, 10mins
The video begins with an animated woman (a profile) who is simultaneously rehearsing alone in a hotel room and replaying her day. She nods and grimaces along to imagined subjects testimony, performing private rituals of productivity and inactivity in a half-dressed state. In the final section that same profile tells a story in which her own sexual life is intermingled with the (retroactively) shame-filled direct messages of a disgraced politician. The work is interested in pleasure, comfort, shame and the desire to be both witnessed and unseen. It’s a video about being and not being intertwined with others, it is about what a woman might need from other people and how she might go about getting it.
Commissioned as part of the Jerwood/FVU Awards. A collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and FVU in association with CCA, Glasgow and University of East London. FVU is supported by Arts Council England.
Women in Manual Trades, Building Your Future, 1980, SD video, colour, sound, UK, 27mins
This tape is about women working in the building industry. A series of interviews with a plumber; plasterer; carpenter; bricklayer; electrician; a painter and decorator, who speak of their experiences and interests, from joining the profession to aspirations for their future careers.
Vanalyne Green, A Spy in the House that Ruth Built, 1989, SD video, colour, sound, USA, 29mins
Inspired by art historian Carol Duncan’s ideas about how public spaces are gendered and by artist Fred Lonidier’s observation that socially progressive artists rarely seize on sports as subject matter for their art, I wanted to create something that could take baseball’s symbolism and stand it on its head — its womblike stadiums and its cycles and rituals. And I wanted to make something that perhaps could be funny, heretical and yet devoted to a sport I love. VG
Rosalind Nashashibi, This Quality, 2010, 16mm, colour, sound, UK, 5mins
This Quality is a film shot in downtown Cairo. It comprises two halves: the first shows a 30-something woman looking directly at the camera, and sometimes acknowledging the existence of others around her who we cannot see. She has a beautiful face with eyes which seem to see internally rather than outwardly, they almost have the appearance of being painted on, suggesting the blindness of a mythological seer. The second half shows a series of parked cars covered with fabric. Each car suggests a sightless face, as the fabric stretched around the machine turns it into a face but also seems to hood the car so that it is conspicuously hidden, like a child covering his eyes.
Image: Rosalind Nashashibi, This Quality, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and LUX.