Home Strike: resisting the feminisation of domesticity

21.03.2018 | Art | BY:

Alexandra Kokoli and Basia Sliwinska guest curate the new exhibition Home Strike. In the new show the pair bring together the work of four women artists — CANAN, Paula Chambers, Malgorzata Markiewicz, Su Richardson — to explore domesticity through an activist lens. The artists probe and refute the idea that domesticity and femininity are intertwined.

Each artist radically reimagines the domestic space as a battleground. It is territory to be taken and looked at afresh. Paula Chambers repurposes everyday kitchen furniture into a fort or barricade, rejecting the wholesome connotations of stools and ironing boards, laying bare the repression and violence which they can also represent.

Installation view, Paula Chambers. Photo: Andy Keate, courtesy L’etrangere

Małgorzata Markiewicz work addresses the family home. She interrogates the idea of women within the domestic sphere, examining motherhood and the idea of entertaining in the home.

Su Richardson contemplates themes of domesticity and motherhood through knitted and crocheted pieces of family scenes. In pieces such as Burnt Breakfast the idea of tarnished or ruined food is contrasted with intricate, delicate technique. Richardson also presents a new series of work made especially for the Home Strike exhibition. Here, knitted breasts are both sexualised and reduced to emblems of motherhood.

Installation view, Su Richardson. Photo: Andy Keate, courtesy L’etrangere

In her video Fountain (2000), Istanbul-based artist and activist CANAN records the sounds of her lactating breasts. The film challenges audiences to radically reevaluate the way in which a women’s body is perceived. To forgo sexualised connotations that have been promoted in art and the wider cultural and political sphere, and to value their functionality and normality.

In all then, Home Strike offers a powerful and invigorating call to action: to engage with, and to challenge, existing notions of domesticity and femininity.

Home Strike is at L’étrangere in London until April 21st 2018.

 

Featured image: CANAN, Çeşme / Fountain (video still),  2000 © CANAN, courtesy the artist

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