9 November – 4 December 2021
In this new body of work, I take my starting point from French New Wave Cinema of the 1960’s. La Nouvelle Vague‘s engagement with experimentation and spirit of iconoclasm within the social and political upheavals of the era seem particularly relevant to today’s upheavals. Jean-Luc Goddard’s film, Masculin Féminin (1966) and Agnès Varda’s Le Bonheur (Happiness) (1965) offer reference points from within my lifetime on which to respond to personal ideas of gender and art. The exhibition takes the form of busts and figurative works in ceramics and paint.
In Masculin Féminin, Paul – a young idealist – searches for life’s purpose. Madeleine is ambitious and determined to make a success of her career as a Yé-Yé girl. Paul persists in undermining her with his intent on dating, sex, and philosophising. Meanwhile, Varda’s Le Bonheur is a tragi-comedy. What is presented as normal (the philandering desire of the husband) seems strangely dream-like: a slow motion disaster presented in sunny landscapes and wholesome knits of the 1960’s. These were the norms on which my sense of gender were built.
The works in this exhibition offers an intimate iconography where social and personal histories erupt and captivate. The figures pull us back anecdotally into the past, to a nostalgia of longing, as well as addressing the affairs of our times. Playful references to the history of ceramics in works such as Modern Bridal and Father Figure speak to clay’s ongoing continuum as a marker of humanity. Using detail and the small scale, the works in Masculin Féminin invite attention while conceptually provoking questions on stereotypes and hierarchies.
Photo credit: Karl Schwerdtfeger