Uneven Bodies: A reader. Ruth Buchanan, Aileen Burns & Johan Lundh, Hanahiva Rose (Eds.). Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

Posted in art, exhibition catalogue on March 16th, 2021 by v r
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In the exhibition “The scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong” Ruth Buchanan presented 50 years of collecting at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Aotearoa New Zealand. This show had one core question: where is power centered? Through asking this question Buchanan and the institution have encountered celebratory moments of risk and experimentation and at the same time come face-to-face with the ways in which individual perspectives are encoded into institutions, and society at large, to form what is recognised as important and valuable. The project has made visible what Audre Lorde describes as the problem of the “mythic norm”. The symposium, “Uneven Bodies” acted on the imbalances exposed in the exhibition and invited discussions on considered approaches that weave in and out of the institution in order to re calibrate the ways in which we produce, engage with, and can shape collections. The content is gathered together in its entirety for this reader and acts as a transcript of a live event and holds onto that liveliness through the variety of forms and tones taken in each of the papers. At the same time, each contribution offers in its own way a template for how we can imagine collecting for the future; full of powerful languages we still need to learn how to speak, together.

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