"A Sad Mimicry of Production": Feminist Artwork On the Line. Lecture by Marina Vishmidt
ms², Ogrodowa 19
25 November 2015, Wednesday at 18:00 hrs
Lecture is an accompanying event of the exhibition All Men Become Sisters
Presentation will try to configure the relationship between production and reproduction as an issue for feminist art practices in recent decades and in the present. The depiction of working women or women's work, in and out of the market, constitutes a strong strand in the image politics of feminist alongside other critical realist strategies which have made their imprint in the archive and are coming to the fore over the last few years. Such depictions enunciate a left politics in at least three ways - they court the charge of 'propaganda' with a stated commitment to extra-art collectives; they challenge the normatively male gender of the 'productive worker' which conceals the work of reproduction; and they challenge the image of the woman as an object of consumption rather than agent of (re-)production. However, there is another, perhaps more oblique strand wherein the artist identifies with being a worker, but it is not clear whether their work is productive, reproductive or simply unproductive. However, feminism can sharpen this somewhat routine appeal to 'purposeless purpose' in Western art by not being content with the performed evacuation of the value of the work, but by challenging authorship and identity as the very root of value relations in art. I would thus like to conclude by seeing how collectivity, anonymity and an erosion of artistic subjectivity is an abiding feminist contradiction in an institutional space where feminist art is always being re-consolidated in the archive through the discovery of hidden subjects and eclipsed ouevres, that is, by the mystique of radical authorship.
Marina Vishmidt is a London-based writer occupied mainly with questions around art, labour and value. She is the author of "Speculation as a Mode of Production" (Brill, early 2016) and "A for Autonomy" (with Kerstin Stakemeier) (Textem, 2015). She also works regularly with Anthony Iles and with Melanie Gilligan. She collaborates with artists and contributes to journals such as "Mute", "Afterall", "Texte zur Kunst", and the "South Atlantic Quarterly", as well as co-/edited collections and catalogues, most recently "Anguish Language" (Archive Books, forthcoming). She is part of the Theory faculty at the Dutch Art Institute, a visiting lecturer at Middlesex University and the University of Brighton, and has taught at the University of the Arts in Berlin, Central Saint Martins, and Goldsmiths.