How many exhibition works:
Mothering is not just a moment in time.
Mothering is ancestral, ambivalent, unstructural.
Mothering is all of us.
It is when motherhood becomes a ready-made mantle that mothers are turned into their own ghosts. Yet, when open to its full range of possibilities, mothering is a fertile ground, a plentiful soil from which a multiplication of ideas and actions can flourish, including meditations on and responses to issues of freedom, desire, heritage, interdependence, inequality, hope, care, power, planetary health, reproduction rights, and choice.
Mothering is a collective investigation into motherhood that embraces a heterogeneous and intersectional definition of mother. It welcomes the fantasies, struggles, dreams, longings, and concerns that (r)evolve around the many ideas and images of motherhood. Featured artists include Mogli Saura (b. 1987, Pindorama, Brazil), a trans mother, whose video The Skin is the Deepest (2022) documents an intimate and moving dialogue between the artist and her mother; Bruno Baptistelli (b.1985, São Paulo, Brazil), a father-to-be whose practice focuses on the relationship between people and space; Willy Nabi (b.1983, Talence, France), a London-based artist whose life-sculptures play with the idea of the “mummy”, both as a reference to his late mother and his Egyptian heritage; and Lize Bartelli (b. 1984, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), a painter who reckons with her desire to be a mother as a way of demystifying womanhood.
Reflecting the exhibition’s all-embracing notion of motherhood, the 12 artist mothers in the show drawn inspiration from a multitude of personal and shared aspects of being a mother. Ingrid Berthon-Moine (b. 1975, Grenoble, France), Penelope Kupfer (b. 1974, Backnang, Germany) and Harriette Meynell (b. 1969, Oxford, UK) examine the idea of maternal expectation and failing, using video, painting and installation, respectively. Artists Magda Bielesz (b. 1977, Warsaw, Poland) and Joey Bryniarska (b. 1981, Swindon, UK) welcome their children into their work, whilst Hoa Dung Clerget’s (b. 1985, Paris, France) set of gold-nippled breasts in Please Touch (2022) evokes the age-old taboo of breastfeeding. Ancestral female symbology is the raw material behind the work of Thalita Hamaoui (b. 1981, São Paulo, Brazil), LaTosha Monique (b. 1981, Columbus, USA), Lucia Pizzani (b. 1975, Caracas, Venezuela) and Maria Konder (b. 1982, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). And the multivalent performances of Laima Leyton (b. 1977, São Paulo, Brazil) and Sarah Kate Wilson (b. 1982, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands) use technology to explore the contradictions and burden of maternal and gender roles.
Mothering is an invitation to dream, negotiate and expand the horizons of the possible by reflecting on how to discard and unlearn social structures that exclude and undermine mothers and motherhood. It rejects the deep-seated constraints that define the institution of motherhood, whilst openly and bravely embodying mothering as creative and radical potential.
The exhibition is also accompanied by a public programme:
9/7: Rose Davey, 'Artemisia Gentileschi: A Response'
Davey will give a lecture on the seventeenth-century Italian painter, whose paintings are inescapably framed by her personal story. This lecture will focus on Gentileschi's work itself, rather than framing it as a post-traumatic reverberation of a rape the artist suffered aged seventeen. Davey will discuss how the work reveals the intellect of an artist whose gender led her to be assumed devoid of reason, rationality, and genius.
Tickets: Free (charity donation optional), book here.
13/7: Maria Konder, 'The Full Moon'
A performance ceremony on the evening of the Buck Moon. Konder will commence with dressing into costume against a backdrop of chants and music, before inviting audience members to write notes on paper; all part of a ritual to find healing. These notes will then be burnt in Konder's cauldron outside of the gallery space, after which the audience members will be invited to join her on a walk to go see the full moon in all its beauty.
Tickets: none necessary, just turn up!
14/7: Hettie Judah, book preview
Author and art critic Hettie Judah will be presenting an illustrated short talk based on the introduction to her upcoming release, How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents). This event will be recorded and streamed live on Instagram.
Tickets: Free, register here.
29/7: Pragya Agarwal, talk
Professor and behavioural and data scientist Agarwal will give a a talk relating to reproductive rights, in light of the USA's recent overturning of abortion rights. This talk will involve her latest release, (M)otherhood- On the choices of being a woman, a book focusing on issues in the same vein; a Q&A will follow, and the event will also be recorded and streamed live on Instagram.
Tickets: Free (charity donation optional), book here.
31/8: Pragya Agarwal, book preview
A book signing for the author's upcoming release, Hysterical- Exploding the Myth of Gendered Emotions. Visitors will be able to purchase a book during the event; more information will be sent out closer to the time.
Time: 8:15 - 9pm
7/9: Hoa Dung Clerget and Penelope Kupfer, What happens when nothing happens
Clerget and Kupfer will set up a performative dinner, open to invited guests for a discussion of emotional and invisible labour that occurs while mothering. There will be a poetry reading and a performance involving other artists whose practice revolves around motherhood. The event will be recorded and streamed live on Instagram; more information will be sent out closer to the time.
Unit 5, The Textile Building
31a Chatham Place