Arndt Art Agency
SHEBODY Cromwell Place 2020
Curated by Matthias Arndt and Tiffany Wood, A3 presents the group exhibition SHEBODY as one of the inaugural presentations at the newly opened Cromwell Place art space in London. Summoning a curated selection of leading female artists from various eras and corners of the globe, each artistic position is united by an obsession in exploring the concept of the desired female body. Without question, the outline of the female form has dominated the world of motifs throughout art history since its inception. As one of the earliest and most popular subjects of portrayal within the canon of Western art, SHEBODY takes its point of departure by presenting the female body as a projection of desire, adulation and site of obsession through the eyes of a range of contemporary female artists.
Art has mirrored culture since time immemorial. The outlines and celebration of the female form – in its adornment and enhancement – employed by artists continues today to act as a muse and medium, around which evolving representations are explored. Traditionally, these depictions throughout art history lean towards the female form as a site of sexualisation. History provides us with these records, and from it one basic, inescapable, and ultimately unconscionable truth stands out: the ideals women are encouraged to embody, regardless of culture or continent, have been delineated almost exclusively by men. This fact, more than any type of evolutionary determinism, has meant that a considerably narrow range of attributes resurface intermittently across eras, returning every couple of decades like a contagion.
The human body is central to how we understand facets of identity such as gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. People alter their bodies, hair, and clothing to align with or resist social conventions and to express messages to others in their surrounding environment. In this vein, many visual artists explore the topic of gender through representations of the body by utilising their own anatomy in their creative process. Within the maelstrom of the contemporary visual world, the female body and its image dominates advertising, media and erotica. Our socialisation and behavioural enactment of female stereotypes is learned from a young age. Informed via fairy tales and legends, while being communicated by writers within the scripts and pages of drama and literature, the female body has been treated as a marvel to be glorified, envied, coveted and venerated within public and cultural realms.
SHEBODY focuses exclusively on a female perspective of the female body and brings together a selection of female artists whose work predominantly oscillates within this sphere of inquiry. Beyond the ubiquitous current debates regarding objectification in an age of selfie culture and gender amidst the #MeToo movement and associated male chauvinism and misogyny that ostensibly dominates the art world, SHEBODY is concerned with two things: First, correcting the misconception that there are more significant male than female artists. And secondly, to demonstrate that the female body not only belongs to every woman – and only to her – but is also the object of the obsession by the female author and public. Within this multidisciplinary exhibition, the female artists in SHEBODY collectively convey and enliven a myriad of debates within their practices pertaining to their works, artistically and socio-politically through the language of visual art through painting, drawing, sculpture and photography and film.
Included within the selection of artworks, are coveted pieces by one of the world’s most identifiable female contemporary artists, Louise Bourgeois, and sought after pieces by Del Kathryn Barton. The body in action and performance is represented in the significant work by Mella Jaarsma. Ideas relating to the transcendental body inhabit commanding sculptures by Anna Uddenberg and the transformative female image is captured within Cindy Sherman’s photography with her renowned ongoing investigation into role play. Patricia Piccinini's visionary artistic stance adopts an analysis of the "utopian body" with her striking hyper-realistic depictions of fantasy beings and creatures that demand respect and empathy by the viewer. SHEBODY aims to offer a refreshed perspective and animate discourse regarding the female body. Exposed and liberated from all-pervasive debates and isms, this landmark show presents the participating artists and their works in an unprecedented dialogue and interplay.
Curated by A3
Cromwell Place, London
Del Kathryn Barton
Hannah van Bart
Arndt Art Agency is pleased to annouce its first exhibition at Cromwell Place Art Space in London as part of the organisation's inaugural opening presentation.