undefined, Dead Bunny Society
29.09.2016 – 31.10.2016
Alexia Cocolas | Minien Hattingh | Stefanie Langenhoven | Laetitia Lups | Shenaz Mahomed | Alison Jean Shaw
curated by Dead Bunny Society
at DF Contemporary
The Hills Buchanan Square | 106 Sir Lowry Rd | Woodstock | Cape Town
An exploration of the tension between personal and public female identity, as it plays out in the lived reality of various artists. Their work deals with uneasy internalisations and performances of “feminity”, using art as a means of representation to question or subvert traditional representations of what it means to be a woman.
ALEXIA COCOLAS and STEFANIE LANGENHOVEN (SILK WORM) | This work deals with the distortion and suppression of the female identity; how disfigured concepts of what it means to be a woman are projected onto women by both sexes. And, how we (as females) embody this twisted conditioning, model it for each other as well as fight within our own bodies to find an understanding, an authenticity and a freedom in what it means to feel and be a woman.
The title “Silk Worm” represents the work through different stages of transformation. The word “Silk” stands apart from the word “Worm”, to emphasise the dichotomy we find within ourselves.
Being feminine can be associated with a silk-like quality – “having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness” is one of many similar definitions of “feminine” that we stumbled upon during this process.
Women give birth to life, a wonderful and mysterious concept, but female bodies and the darkness or the unknown of the creative unconscious (the unconscious being associated with the feminine) are seen as unclean and fearful, and so we too resonate with “the worm”. Apart from being an invertebrate animal, the worm is also defined as “a weak or despicable person (often used as a general term of abuse)”. A concept that women (and men) have been taught to internalise when it comes to feeling into the parts that make up our feminine attributes, through years of patriarchal training.
MINIEN HATTINGH | Exploring the relationship between imprisonment and aesthetic, each work displays a cloying nostalgia. This is supported by the sepia washes reminiscent of photographs of the 19th and early 20th century, evident in each piece. Garbed and posed, each figure seemingly dons a composed stance. By examining each work closer, objects of suppression including: a flea, birds and a squid are revealed. These little puppet-like wingmen quell each female figure’s destiny and voice, in turn, imprisoning them in in a cyclical demise.
LAETITIA LUPS | At first glance it looks like the work is about individual identity. On further
Inspection, you realise that the work comments on a tension between what we think we are, and what and who we define ourselves as. In fact, we are not what we think we are. We are the products of the society in which we live. It is as much about the rules that we are controlled by as what is considered fashionable at a particular point in history. I attempt to make work that blurs the line between personal lived reality and the representation of reality in art and history.
SHENAZ MAHOMED | The fragile, intricate and delicate artworks created are used to depict complexities within cultural identity. Consciously working from a particular religious and cultural perspective, I aim to explore and re-mystify the process of making art – challenging the constraints of such a precious and sensitive subject in contemporary culture. My works evoke an almost confrontational quality by placing the audience face to face with the recurring image of an unfamiliar and ambivalent female Muslim figure.
ALISON JEAN SHAW | Directing Trepenation
Notions (and motions) surrounding this particular body, The Darling Wound, often involve desire and how this expresses itself through the creative process and ultimately, an onlooker. Personally, a subjective expression can often be the facilitator of a somewhat intimate dialogue, introspective or projected. To assist the exchange, I use a number of tropes with which one could empathise – monks, gods, Mary’s, keyholes, and “like a virgin needs a martyr”, suggestion is marked as universal as laughter. It has been said that “he who laughs most, learns best.”