Cloth books; found textile, lipstick, mascara, foundation.

Wall text; eye pencil, brow pencil.

Working with trace and the absent body becomes a way to present ideas in a work with some distance, establishing a boundary. These works collect traces of one on one exchanges that happened between many individual women and myself, these are remnants of private performances of a ritual I designed.

Walker discusses what I describe as a collaboration and exchange between Ana Mendieta and Nacy Spero, where Spero re-enacts and re-traces a work she witnessed Mendieta performing1. The works, both Mendieta’s Body Tracks (Rasrtos Corporales) from 1982, and Spero’s responses to it in the 1990s, represent traces of the body. I am working with images created as prints or drawings from the face. Current concerns in my practice; be it performance, or its residual artefacts, such as drawings, photographs and oral retellings of the events caused me to ask; how much is representative of the nuanced and contradictory individual stories shared with me, and is the work interpreted as a display of collective experiences of women? My response to this challenge was in presenting the self portraits as a physically connected works, in a badly made quilt, cloth books and re-writing women’s sometimes contradictory reflections on the process on the wall in the exhibition space. This is an attempt to avoid reducing the work into a universal homogenous response and to draw attention to the stories which came from the process, these stories seem to be the heart of the work.

Walker highlighted the absence of the body of the artist; the trace of the work or performance was ephemeral or suggestive of other ways of seeing.  In this installation, I aim to highlight a discourse between the differing experiences women shared in response to the project; collecting traces of actions in the form of self portraits and anchoring their experiences in the written stories they shared with me. A desire to create some personal distance and space for reflection was one of my intentions behind the decision to remove myself from the process of making self portraits. By choosing to present other womens’ images as objects and their stories on the wall I attempt to invite the audience to both view the images and read their stories, to be present and open to the work and become aware of their own presence in the room.



[1] Walker, Joanna S. ‘The Body Is Present Even If in Disguise: Tracing the Trace in the Artwork of Nancy Spero and Ana Mendieta’. Accessed 12 August 2018.https://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/11/the-body-is-present-even-if-in-disguise-tracing-the-trace-in-the-artwork-of-nancy-spero-and-ana-mendieta.

[2] ibid.

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