Mothering - Public ProgrammeJuly - September 2022
Kupfer is running a rich and varied programme of talks, book launches, and performances in conjunction with the physical exhibition Mothering (July 2nd - August 6th). These events are fully open to the public, and achieved through collaboration with artists and authors whose concerns relate to the topic of motherhod, and harnessing mothering as a source of creativity, as well as more politically charged perspectives.
Listen to Hettie Judah's book talk, How Not To Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents), on spotify.
Attend the book launch of Pragya Agarwal's Hysterical: Exploding the Myth of Gendered Emotions on August 31st at 8:15 pm.
You can access the exhibition viewing room here.
Talks and Book Launches
Rose DaveyArtemisia Gentileschi: A Response (9/7/22)Artist and author Rose Davey lectures on seventeenth-century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Gentileschi’s paintings are inescapably framed by her personal story; a victim of rape at the age of seventeen, her career is often discussed as a post-traumatic reverberation of this event. However, Davey's lecture focuses on the work itself, what it shows us, and how it reveals the intellect of an artist whose gender led her to be assumed devoid of reason, rationality, and genius.
Hettie JudahBook preview (14/7/22)
Hettie Judah is a writer and senior art critic of the daily paper The i, and regular contributor to Frieze, The Guardian, Vogue, The New York Times, Monthly and Art Review, amongst others. She presents an illustrated short talk based on the introduction of her upcoming book How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents) (Lund Humphries, 2022), which examines the presence of artist mothers in art history and the prejudice against motherhood both as a status and subject for artists. The talk is followed by a Q&A session with artist and Mothering curator Penelope Kupfer.
Listen to an audio recording of the talk here.
Pragya AgarwalBook Preview (31/8/22)
On August 31st, professor and behavioural and data scientist Pragya Agarwal will host a book signing of her upcoming release, Hysterical- Exploding the Myth of Gendered Emotions. Visitors will be able to purchase a book during the event."We've all heard the sayings that girls should be 'sugar and spice and all things nice', while 'boys don't cry'. In Hysterical, Pragya Agarwal dives deep into the history and science that has determined the gendering of emotions to ask whether there is any truth in the notion of innate differences between the male and female experience of emotions. She examines the impact this has on men and women - especially the role it has played in the subjugation of women throughout history - and how a future where emotions are ungendered might look."
Book preview: 31st August, 8:15 - 9 pm, free entry!
Laima LeytonThe Birth of the Disco Ball (2/7/2022)
Pictured here is a remnant from Laima Leyton's performance, The Birth of The Disco Ball (2020), in collaboration with performance artist Zara Truss Giles, which incorporates sound and light to domestic objects and actions, creating a dreamy meditative atmosphere, reflecting on the dichotomy between mother and performer, which she calls the ‘performother’. She uses sound to tell unique stories that include elements of audience participation.
Review by Adriana Francisco:"Two blindfolded performers dressed in black garments face each other, pressing their open hands onto a shiny orb that balances on a translucent plinth. Heavy breathing turns into moaning; moaning turns into grunting. Gasps and sobs are multiplied by the echo effect of their microphones. And then the noise of creation stops, interrupted by a low silence. They have made it. They have given birth to a disco ball. The exhausted mothers, released from the pains of labour, can now play some music. With the dreamlike quality of a Laurie Anderson pulsating prayer, the mums intone: can you remember who the first person you loved was? The audience seems to know the answer. Another disco ball comes out of the metallic womb of a washing machine fitted with disco lights. One of the performers walks around, arms stretched out offering the glittering globe. “Can someone take this away from me?” The audience hesitates. “Can someone take this away? For the sake of life”. A guy jumps forward and grabs the ball in solidarity.
Rather than idealising motherhood through the tropes of unconditional maternal care and love, The Birth of the Disco Ball (2022) – a performance by artist and music producer Laima Leyton, with collaborator Zara Truss Giles – confronts motherhood as a place of human difficulty. For the artists, mothering is clearly a condition of understated fearlessness. They never smile, and when the blindfolds finally come off, they look through you. In the end, the Grandmother Moog produces a messy mass of sound against the whooshing of uterine ultrasound and the noise of the washing machine getting ready for a new cycle. Laima and Zara are no strangers to the club scene, but the choice of delivering a disco ball goes beyond partying aspirations: the orb is also unity, wholeness, infinity, Earth, a space of multipolar coexistence. We have all started inside the round shared space of a womb.
The Birth of a Disco Ball was performed on 2 July 2022 in a corner of a packed gallery room at Kupfer Projects, in Hackney."
Maria KonderThe Full Moon (13/7/22)A performance ceremony on the evening of the Buck Moon. Maria Konder as well as a number of collaborative artists dress 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 are then burned in Konder's cauldron outside of the gallery space, after which the audience is invited to join the artist on a walk to go see the full moon in all its beauty.
Penelope Kupfer + Hoa Dung ClergetWhat Happens When Nothing Happens (7/9/22)A performative dinner between Kupfer and Hoa Dung Clerget, open to invited guests for a discussion of emotional and invisible labour that occurs while mothering. The dinner includes 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 released closer to the time.
Penelope Kupfer, One (2022)
Hoa Dung Clerget, Broom Lady (2022)