Following the recent exhibition at the Kunstraum, Vienna (The Two Halves
of Martha Wilson's Brain), mfc-michèle didier is honored to reveal Martha
Wilson's work for the first time in France, and contribute to her recognition as a
real pioneer in using performance as an artistic medium in itself. The exhibition
will gather an exceptional set of photographs and videos, allowing to (re)discover
a complex, subversive and committed work. At the occasion of this exhibition,
mfc-michèle didier will also announce the future publication of Martha Wilson's
diaries, written from 1965 to 1981.
Martha Wilson: Staging the Journals presents a set of photographs and videos
reflecting Martha Wilson's work began in the 1970s; a real pioneer in using
performance as an artistic medium in itself, Martha Wilson stages her
body, and as an actress would do, grinds and transforms herself, creating
multiple self-portraits becoming subversive characters. She creates innovative
photographic and video works exploring her female subjectivity through roleplaying,
costume transformations, and “invasions” of other people’s personae.
She founded the group DISBAND in 1976, active from 1978 to 1982, a defining
moment in her career, whose exhibition also presents video works. Composed
exclusively of women artists based in New York, the group is made up of Barbara
Ess, Ilona Granet, Donna Henes, Daile Kaplan, Barbara Kruger, Ingrid Sischy,
Diane Torr, and Martha Wilson. Non-musicians members produce music by
singing, shouting, and stomping, blurring the line between performance and live
music thanks to their a-cappella songs and their imitations of political figures
such as Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush or Tipper Gore. The group reunited in 2008,
thirty years after its inception, at the occasion of the exhibition WACK! Art and
the Feminist Revolution organized at MoMA / P.S.1 in New York.
Wilson's early work is now considered prescient. Many of her photo-text pieces
point to territory later mined by Cindy Sherman, among many other contemporary
artists. Her role as an artist, but also as a federator through the creation of
Franklin Furnace Archives or DISBAND, has earned her to be considered by
New York Times critic Holland Cotter to be as one of the half-dozen most
important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.
Martha Wilson: Staging the Journals tends to reflect Martha Wilson's
pioneering contribution to conceptual and feminist art, through her subversive
approach, as well as her collaborations with other women artists.
Her work can be found in public collections such as the MoMA, the Whitney
Museum of American Art, or the Guggenheim (New York).