Labours of Love
The ‘Labours of Love’ peer mentoring group brings together a number of artists, researchers, and designers who’s work considers affective labour and the physical and legal conditions in which it takes place as well as its expression within artistic practice. Led by artist Rose Gibbs, awarded the 2017 Artquest Peer Forum at Cubitt, the Peer Mentoring group brings together participants from a number of different disciplines and wide age range the group will be a forum for intergenerational exchange, and a site to nurture productive conversation and encourage cross-pollination.
The group will look at the legal and economic conditions in which care works takes place, and consider the migratory patterns from the economic south to the economic north that have emerged as a result of the west’s current care crisis and the growing need for care of the elderly. The group will explore the notion of a “labour of love” as it affects artists, carers and parents, and what is at stake psychologically in this work – where it is manifested in art works and art practices. They will look at how art can be used as a tool of affective labour, in collaborative projects. Looking back to art history the group will consider works exploring affective labour, the maternal and how the use of the body, the domestic, and the intimate – vital aspects of affective labour – are spoken about within art discourse. They will explore the taboos around these subjects, and the strategies artist have use to exploit or explore those taboos.
Participants Include: Clare Bottomley, Charlie Coffey, Kim Dhillon, Andrea Francke, Rose Gibbs, Ross Jardine, Susan Kelly , Helen Knowles, Sara Paiola, Sophia Marinkov Jones, Fiona Townend, Stephanie Wehowski, Hermione Wiltshire, Paulina Yurman
Image Credit: Rose Gibbs 2005
Image credit: Johnny Hourigan and Clare Bottomley 'Everybody Says It's All In Your Head' (Still), 2016, Video 14.38 mins.
Clare Bottomley is an artist originally from Gloucester, now living and practicing in London. Over her career she has developed a practice that questions ideas of identity and representation, often by placing herself in front of the camera lens and by re-imagining the way historic fables and stories are represented, she hopes to re-address the complex way we have come to build our own identities and reveal how we construct representations not only of ourselves, but of each other. She has worked as an art educator for many years, engaging within communities in different capacities such as the youth service and community art projects. By combining her artistic practice with her experience in teaching, she is working to reveal the potential for collaboration to create an authentic space of participation and empowerment for subjects whose voices may not have had the chance to be heard
Image credit: Charlie Coffey 'A Man and a Woman' 2016
Charlie Coffey works across drawing, sculpture, installation, print and self-publishing, often taking a site-specific approach to exhibition making. Her practice brings together an interest in the political agency of art and (im)possibility of making a viable, socially engaged, artistic response. She often returns to the physical formats of communication, both consensual and dissenting, ranging from the roadside billboard to construction hoardings, the flyposted print to the postcard. Recent works have begun to play with the sculptural properties of paper, text and print, as part of a sustained investigation into how the ‘inert status’ of drawing might open up beyond its two-dimensional limitations. Charlie Coffey studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and lives and works in London. Forthcoming projects include ‘A woman wrote this book’, part of BAHAR, the Istanbul offsite project for Sharjah Biennial 13. She is co-editor of folio, a London/Istanbul publishing project set up with artist Merve Kaptan, presenting artists’ work on the flat page.
Image Credit: Kim Dhillon 'We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live' 2017
(detail/ selection of titles from Lollipop Power, circa 1970s)
Kim Dhillon is a writer, art historian, and artist. Broadly speaking, her research examines the legacies of second wave feminism, its intersections with conceptualism, text, written language, and material culture. More specifically, past projects have explored 1970s feminist publishing collectives in the US, the relationship of the Bauhaus to the kindergarten, and legacies of care and labour in art schools. Since 2014, she has collaborated with Andrea Francke on the feminist research project, Invisible Spaces of Parenthood, which explores motherhood/parenthood, and the labour of care, particularly in relation to early years’ care and infrastructure. She led a campaign to re-open the crèche at the RCA in 2014-2016, and has published articles on the history of nurseries in UK art schools.
Image Credit: Andrea Franke 'The Nursery' Invisible Spaces of Parenthood, 2010,
Chelsea College of Arts, London
Andrea Francke (1978) is an artist born in Peru and currently based in London. Long term projects include: Invisible Spaces of Parenthood, a collaboration with Kim Dhillon exploring the legacies of Second Wave feminism and their implications with art and its infrastructures, labour, and care; FOTL with Ross Jardine, a reading group that uses theory and practice to reflect on administrative systems, bureaucracy, policy making and utopia development as potential sites of political change; and Wish You’d Been Here, organising and reflecting on hosting as an artistic and feminist method along Eva Rowson. She is currently a PhD candidate in Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester.
Image Credit: Rose Gibbs, Leytonstone 2005, 2017
Rose Gibbs is an artist and writer who regularly initiates and contributes to talks, symposiums and discussion groups. Her work seeks to think through feminist concerns via these different mediums and platforms. She is co-founder of a number of collaborative projects and has an on going research project looking into feminist collectives. She co-curated the exhibition Feminist Practices in Dialogue at the ICA, along side the launch of a publication she co-edited. In July 2015 she organized Women Working Collectively what is your Value? at the ICA, as part of her research and art collective The Temporary Separatists. She writes a blog for the Huffington Post, and in 2014 organized Taking Up Space – Women Only shows to reflect on the benefits of women only exhibitions. She is currently working with the KEEP IT COMPLEX collective, seeking to encourage people to get involved with everyday politics. Recent talks have included Who’s Holding the Baby? Women’s art Collectives past and present at Tate Britain.
Ross Jardine is an artist and researcher based in London. He is a trustee of Justice 4 Domestic Workers, co-organises Radio Anti with Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau and is a researcher at the Greater London Authority. Jardine has written about the labour of administration with Andrea Francke in the forthcoming PARSE Journal Issue #5 on Management.
Image Credit: Susan Kelly, Screen Shot from Score for Complex Scene'
Neue Galerie, Innsbruck 2012
Susan Kelly is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her research looks at relationships between art and micropolitics, technologies of the self, space and practices of organisation. She works in the context of various collectives and individually in time-based work, installation and through writing, publishing and convening events and performative/ militant investigations.
Image Credit: Helen Knowles 'The Trial of Superdebthunterbot'
Installation View at Goldsmiths University
Jury bench, birch laminate ply and leatherette and 45 Minute HD film
Helen Knowles b1975 has a BA Hons from Glasgow School of Art and MFA Fine Art from Goldsmiths University. She lectures widely around the UK and abroad. Recent shows include; The Trial of Superdebthunterbot, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2017) Gender Generation, Royal College of Art, Between the Lines, GRAD,London, UnderConstruction,Moscow (2016), Collaborate, Oriel Sycarth, (2015), PrivateView:PublicBirth, GV Art, London (2013), Goldsmiths Women’s Library (2013), Life Is Beautiful, Galerie Deadfly, Berlin (2012); Digital Romantics, Dean Clough Gallery (2012) and Walls are Talking,Whitworth Art Gallery (2010). Her work is held in private and public collections including The Whitworth Art Gallery, Gallery Oldham, Tate Library and Archive, The National Art Library, Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection, Museum of Motherhood, NY, Birth Rites Collection and MMU Special Collection. Residencies include; Moscow ICA, (2015) Santa Fe Arts Institute, New Mexico (2013 Jodrell Bank Science Centre and Arboretum (1999-2001). A recipient of awards from Arts Council England and The Amateurs Trust, in 2012 she won the Neo Art Prize, Great Art Prize for two works form the Youtube Portraits Series. Currently Knowles is touring her new video work The Trial of Superdebthunterbot to law schools, film festivals and institutions nationally and internationally. She is one of seven artists on the Fault Lines programme, Future Everything. She is the curator of the Birth Rites Collection.
Image Credit: Sophia Marinkov Jones 'Work info/ Noise 1' Acrylic and oil on paper
Sophia Marinkov Jones is a visual artist working across a variety of media, based in London. She is currently working in the Mother House, a flexible artist studio with integrated childcare, where children are invited into the workspace. Her recent work explores crossovers and clashes between child and adult spaces. She has collaborated in notable international Art and Design events including the Architectural Association’s Koshirakura Landscape Workshop, building within a small post-agricultural community in Niigata Prefecture, Japan and Robert Wilson’s Summer Programme at the Watermill Centre, New York, making giant puppets. She has a BSc in Architecture from the Bartlett School, UCL and an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. She is an associate of STORE Projects, a socially engaged art and design practice, and has seven years Art and Design teaching experience working with RIVA (Residencies in Visual Arts), London Wildlife Trust, Thames Explorer Trust and STORE Projects education programme.
Image Credit: Alex Martinis Roe developed with Sara Paiola for 'Our Future Network' film still of workshop 'Ritual for the Support of Mothers'
Sara Paiola is originally from Italy. She holds a BA in Social, Cultural and Creative Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London and a Master Research in Law and Human Rights from the School of Law, Birkbeck University. She is currently working on a Phd in the same department. Her Phd topic centres on a critique of liberal equality, Italian sexual difference feminism and mothers’ relationality. She is interested in maternal subjectivity and is attending a course at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust which relates to this theme. She is the mother of a 7 year old boy.
Fiona Townend brings together writing, video and sculptural objects to open up a provocative space in which complex intersections between gender politics, power, creativity and motherhood are critically examined. She uses the processes of hiding and revealing, both literally and metaphorically, to articulate the attempt to control how much of the ‘self’ we present to the world and how much we keep hidden. The palpable tension between the fear of exposure versus the powerlessness of being invisible, is exposed in her work. Townend uses the business of family life to question personal and socio-political power structures relating to caring with its demands of time, repetition and relentlessness. Her work operates as an investigation into how family life can express and suppress individual and collective needs and desires. Folded towels, dirty bedclothes, interactions with family, the action of running; all are subject to the gaze of the camera, as Townend portrays her own interior and exterior worlds of artist and mother. She investigates family dynamics as the most fundamental crucible of identity and as a vehicle for self-examination- a means to construct self-knowledge through relationships.
Image Credit: Stephanie Wehowski
'The Totality of Yourself - Part1'
Stephanie Wehowski was trained and worked as a stonemason before she went on to study Fine Arts at Westminster University. She was born in the city of Luebeck, Germany and arrived in London in 1996, where she still resides and works. She is now a mother to her 17 month old daughter Florence.” “What I am concerned with in my art practice is perception, the human experience, and consciousness. I try to put my intuitive presentiments and philosophical observations into a visible form and especially a sensory experience. As far as it is possible.” (‘Although probably a grandiose statement, I agree with Bruce Nauman’s famous proclamation in one of his first neon pieces: ‘The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.’)
Image Credit: Hermione Wiltshire and Clare Bottomley 'Study' 2016
Hermione Wiltshire (b . 1963) is an Artist and Senior Lecturer in the Photography Programme, School of Fine Art, Royal College Art. She has exhibited and lectured nationally and internationally and her work is held in public collections such as The Arts Council, the Weltkunst, MAG and private collections in Italy, Austria and the UK. Her practice is Photographic, sculptural, architectural and performance based. Sexuality, gender, politics of representation, feminist theory and the physical status of the photographic image are addressed in her work. Her current research interests are the maternal function and creative practice in relation to Modernism, Expanded Photography and the Physical Image. She recently hosted an international conference at the RCA called Gender Generation: The Creative Process in Art & Design.
Image Credit: Pauline Yurman 'Sketches'
Paulina Yurman is a product designer and researcher, currently doing a PhD at Goldsmiths. Her research, called Designing for Ambivalence, investigates the tensions brought by smartphones to mothers and their young children, particularly focusing on mothers who take the primary caring role during the first few years of a child’s life. Her PhD combines experimental design approaches with psychoanalytic, feminist and related views on the meaning of products. Her work explores unexamined perspectives of parents as complex users, sparking dialogues and reflections about motherhood, work – life balance, and the role of technology in each of these aspects of family life. After completing her MA at the Royal College of Art Paulina worked as a Senior Designer for LEGO in Denmark. She has worked for Sekisui Design Centre in Japan, and for Conran & Partners, Brand Environment and SPD in London. She has recently designed a range of baby/toddler furniture for Mothercare and a series of rugs for the Danish firm Linie Design.