Feminism event with Felicity Allen at Turner Contemporary

24 Nov 2014

On the back of the Stitched Time exhibition I was invited, with the team, to take part in a feminism event at Turner Contemporary to launch a project led by artist and writer Felicity Allen.

The event took the form of focused discussions in response to four questions, themselves relating to the writing arising out of the artist’s “Begin Again” project. The questions related to the feelings produced when looking at one of the portrait pairs (close up view and wider view), the idea of scrutiny, what it means to give time (and when it feels good or not) and what form recognition takes or what it means to me valued.

Not realising in advance how the questions all linked up left room to work that out for oneself. Looking at the selected portrait, I felt it could be someone I knew (recognition) but of course turning it round a bit, it felt too as if the sitter was the one doing the looking (which way does the scrutiny go? how is the power of looking played out between artist and sitter). We talked about the time given by the sitter (unpaid) and about time given by different members of the group but also about balancing that with the need to do paid work;  also about how time spent in the studio seems to expand and I referred to studio time as slowing-down time. When it came to recognition, the focus was more on being recognised and valued oneself  for the work one does; we touched on the kind of relationship created when ‘asssistants’ are paid or not paid and the pleasure of being acknowledged by name.

The above is only a very rough snapshot of the conversations as we talked a lot more and the relationship to feminism was in some ways oblique; it was a thought-provoking and enjoyable evening.