Guest Projects, 1 Andrews Road, E8 4QL
Private View 10 May 2012, 6–9pm
Exhibition continues 11–30 May 2012
Open Thurs – Sun, 12–6pm
In their upcoming exhibition, Catherine Anyango and Julie Hill take on the historical view of women as objects perpetually on the brink of hysteria – dripping with emotion, their bodies ready to overflow, blurring and overriding social norms. Using drawing, film, print, sound, sculpture, soap and water, their individual works together construct a mise-en-scène that explores the idea of the ‘unacceptable’ manifestations of emotional afflictions by actively playing with the emotions of the viewer.
New work from Julie Hill will look at theme of hysteria in relation to the representation of female emotion in melodramatic women’s films from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. In Sob Stories, narrative plot summaries from melodramatic films have been collected and played with to form a text that unfolds around the exhibition space while discreet interventions permeate the outside world. The interventions, comprising objects, documents and performances, carry fictional elements into reality creating a ‘middle world’ where the audience is suspended. Works include the Letter from an Unknown Woman, a Brief Encounter at a London train station and the tear that was used as evidence in a Matter of Life or Death. Julie’s work addresses the ever-increasing confluence between popular entertainment and everyday life in an attempt to provoke the audience out of a passive or complacent relationship with the forms of entertainment they consume.
Catherine Anyango’s work aims to unsettle the viewer. A series of loosely interlinked responses to the theme of the exhibition create a sensation of repressed hysteria in a domestic environment of beds, sinks, sheets and crockery, physical environments that are disrupted by intangible emotional forces. Solid graphite drawings are drawn to almost elude your vision – you must keep changing your position relative to them in order to see. This makes them into spaces as well as drawings; three dimensional areas that you must navigate but cannot penetrate. Similarly, film pieces attempt to make a three dimensional object out of a film, a thing that invites a tactile response. Breaking Point, a life size recreation of a woman washing dishes, provides an occasional, uncomfortable soundtrack, when hands cast from soap dissolve under running water, causing plates to fall and smash, a sound signifying frustration and violence in what should be a peaceful domestic scene.
The exhibition is both a serious and light-hearted attempt to expose a prejudice against ‘feminine’ categories of entertainment such as soap operas and chick flicks, domesticity and the presence of emotion. The approach can be summarized in the title, Crying out Loud – an expression of annoyance or anger, but also an attempt to interrogate the idea of open, unashamed emotion.
An illustrated catalogue will be published to coincide with the exhibition featuring essays by Dr Volker Sommer, Evolutionary Anthropologist at UCL; Dr Chantal Faust, artist, writer and tutor in the department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art and playwright, novelist and poet Deborah Levy.