‘Muse Model or Mistress?’
Is an exhibition featuring solely female artists working across a range of media. This will be the third women only exhibition to be featured at Gallery Different, and comes at a time when there is a global spotlight on the role of women in society and the way in which they are portrayed and perceived. Timely then to put on this exhibition alongside insightful dramatic performances that highlight the effect of this portrayal and perception.
Following a critically acclaimed, sell out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Picasso’s Women transfers to Fitzrovia’s Gallery Different. The show features a series of monologues and confessionals performed by three of the most influential women in the early life of Picasso. They focus on each woman’s perspective of being a muse for a male artist; the artwork will open up a discussion of how the muse’s position changes under the female rather than male gaze.
The production features Fernande, played by Judith Paris, who tells the audience about the lustful early years of her relationship with Picasso. Fernande is known to have published her memoirs in her later years to great success. The play then focuses on Olga, Picasso’s first wife who is played by Colette Redgrave. She candidly recounts the ‘departments in which Picasso lacked’ and the sadness she felt when she lost her husband to the younger and nubile Marie-Therese performed by Kirsten Moore.
The participating artists have been invited by Karina Phillips, Director of Gallery Different and her co-curator Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf, current Vice President of the Society of Women Artists.
‘Muse Model or Mistress?’ was a comment by Marcel Duchamp on the restrictive role of women in the surrealist movement and was instrumental in Peggy Guggenheim putting on her exhibition of 31 women artists at her New York Gallery in 1943. 75 years later the question is still relevant.
Among the 20 artists who have responded to the brief are established artists Carla Van De Puttelaar, who will be exhibiting portraits of three of the participating artists as part of her series Artfully Dressed – Women in the Artworld – a series of 60 photographs of the women running and participating in the international artworld; Hazel Reeves who will be showing the last remaining maquette for her public sculpture of Emmeline Pankhurst which is to be installed in the centre of Manchester this autumn; Judy Clark whose work has been collected by the Tate Britain and Irene Lees whose award winning drawings are impossibly composed of text. Irene has created three new pieces for the show based on Picasso’s own work – and containing a damning treatise on his treatment of women. They are joined by exciting and award winning young artists such as Emma Hopkins, Adelaide Damoah, and Roxana Halls.
A ground-breaking collaboration that comprises established and emerging artists providing a context for the week of performances before the exhibition transfers to an online show.