There’s a brand new exhibition (set to be a sellout) focused entirely on the perspective of the female gaze coming to London. Held at the Whitechapel Gallery, ”Terrains of the Body” unites the mixed media work of 17 contemporary artists from five different continents – including Marina Abramović, Nan Goldin, and Rineke Dijkstra – and portrays women as both creators and creative subjects. Spanning multiple decades of womanhood, it borrows work from Washington’s National Museum of Women in the Arts to provide a series of 24 images that recognise the female form as a vessel for expressing personal and collective experiences.
Performance artist Marina Abramović ridicules the objectification of women in art by utilising her own body in often extreme, physical ways. In her 1974 performance, “Rhythm 0”, she hosted 72 objects on her body, invited strangers to interact with them. Her work on show at ”Terrains of the Body” more personal, though it still makes a universal statement. “The Hero” (2001) sees Abramović sitting on a white horse as a tribute to her father’s time as a soldier in World War II. However, in waving a white flag of submission she questions male heroism.
Notably, Nan Goldin – best known for her personalisation expressions of female desire and sexuality in her photography – provides “Self-Portrait in Kimono with Brian” (1983) from her infamous and ever-evolving, ”The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” series. Taken in a New York apartment next to ex-lover, Brian, the image gives us a window into the artist’s incredibly volatile world at the time.
The work of creative collective Icelandic Love Corporation is also featured (who consider the place of women in the art world) as well as imagery by Daniela Rossell – her photo “Medusa”, from the 1999 Ricas y famosas series, certainly has a lot to answer for Kendall Jenner’s Instagram which made viral history as the most viewed image on the site to date.
This unique exhibition offers a diverse representation of womanhood in art, and runs until 16 April 2017