Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Behind the Scenes at The Whitworth

Behind the scenes in The Whitworth's collection lies the work of some incredible women artists whose work is not exhibited at present.
On the 23rd March curator Helen Stalker kindly allowed the public to engage with the work of three radical women artists: Lynn Hershman Leeson, Barbara Bodichon & Käthe Kollwitz.

Lynn Hershman Leeson (born 1941) is an American performance artist and filmmaker whose work investigates the notion of identity and selfhood. She explores the things that make us unique. Between the years of 1974 and 1978, Hershman Leeson spent much of her time performing as an alter ego, the character Roberta Breitmore. Much of the work—drawings, photographs, clothing, medical records, letters, etc.—Hershman Leeson produced during the Breitmore years related to the character’s emotional and practical existences. This work anticipated the notion of the 'avatar' and of stolen identity years before the advent of the Internet.

Visitors delve into The Roberta Breitmore series (1974–78)

Barbara Bodichon (1827 – 1891) was an English educationalist, artist, and a leading early nineteenth-century feminist and activist for women's rights. In the 1850s Bodichon would meet with a group of friends in Langham Place in London to discuss women's rights.                                    The women would subsequently become known as "The Ladies of  Langham Place". This became one of the first organised women’s movements in Britain. They pursued many causes vigorously, including their Married Women’s Property Committee. In 1854 Bodichon published her Brief Summary of the Laws of England concerning Women. Listen here for an interesting discussion of Bodichon's life and work on BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour.

Käthe Kollwitz, The Captives, 1908
Käthe Kollwitz (1867 – 1945) was a remarkable German painter, printmaker and sculptor whose work dealt largely with issues of hunger, poverty and suffering. She is widely acknowledged as one of the most important female artists of the 20th Century.

Many thanks to Helen Stalker for her insightful discussions. Stay up to date with The Whitworth's Adult Programme events by following the link to the blog: here