Relating Narratives - A Common World of Women




Relating Narratives   

A Common World of Women


The Horse Hospital, London, WC1N 1JD

Private View 7th September 2018 6-9pm

8th September – 29th September 2018

Monday - Saturday 12-6pm




This exhibition will explore the way in which women look to other women - friends, sisters, mothers, writers, poets - to construct an alternative register within which to situate themselves and mediate their relationship with the world.


The works in this exhibition recall the practice of feminist groups in 1970s Italy where women sought to generate, en-gender and construct a symbolic community, a genealogy of women. They did this both through the friendships within the group as well as the reading and the re-reading of writings, thoughts, words and insights of other women. Many of these groups emerged out of the adult education courses provided by the state for factory workers and housewives who in many instances had left school very young.



The new friendships were set apart from the women’s work and domestic spheres: these groups gave them the freedom not to be defined in relation to their husbands, their children, but in relation to other women and their writing. This enabled the women to construct new frames of reference within which to define and situate their identities.


This exhibition draws together a number of artists whose practice takes on a similar task –that of representing the women in their worlds, that of building a common world of women. A public programme of talks, screenings and readings will accompany the exhibition.


Barby Asante

Chila Kumari Burman

Rose Gibbs

Chantal Joffe

Claudette Johnson

Sisters of Jam

Marcia Michael

Kate Millett

Ishbel Myerscough

Rosalind Nashashibi

Yvonne Rainer

Rose Wylie

Nicole Wittenberg



Curated by Rose Gibbs with support from The Arts Council England and The Horse Hospital


‘The paradox of woman, a being that is at once captive and absent in discourse, constantly spoken of but of itself inaudible or inexpressible, displayed as spectacle and yet unrepresented, a being whose existence and specificity are simultaneously asserted and denied, negated and controlled.’ (1)


  ‘The female image with which man has interpreted woman has been his own invention’ (2)



(1) Teresa de Laurentis Sexual Difference and Feminist Thought in Italy page 12

(2) Manifesto Rivolta Femminile, 1970


Image Credits: Claudette Johnson, Ink Study (Head), 2017, Acrylic and pastel on paper, 110h x 79w cm, Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens, Photo: Andy Keate

Rose Gibbs, Simone, 2017, Wax, plaster, blood, 59cm x 43cm, Courtesy of the artist

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