You’re reading an artist statement. How interesting, you might think. Or here we go again. Or, I very much enjoy reading these statements, especially the ones that are violently long and employ all means possible to dance around the point.
The ones that ‘imply’ how the practice works, you think, correcting your satirical criticism of the art world. You notice you have used the term ‘art world’. You stare at the screen for a minute.
You go back to watching the disco ball. This was much more fun, you think. I wonder what it’s like to have to talk about all of my work, self and livelihood in a snappy, coherent paragraph. I might give it a try. You pause momentarily. You read on with an open mind.
Combining spoken word and text installation, Rachel produces live performances that humour societal expectations in both private and public space. Each character and accompanying script is written in response to a site - be it a New Year's Eve party, a lecture theatre, a private view at a gallery - objects to hand in the room become props that are central to the story, and features that constitute the background - the time, the weather, the present date - become the setting. She sets the scene by referencing the scene we find ourselves in.
When asked to elaborate on her work, Rachel will talk about the female self as one who is actor, performer and role-player. Likewise, she will talk about a self that is constructed around audience, gaze and the lives of others. Some days she will talk about the author Anne Carson and the month that she came across her quote how can you see your life unless you leave it? Then, she will pause momentarily, and say things like how often do we become our own spectator and who exactly are we leaving behind?
When she is looking for one closing sentence but can't find one, she will most likely mutter something about liberation or will talk about a woman that has grown accustomed to restriction.
However, in most cases, she will use a quote that returns throughout her work. It is a quote by feminist performance artist Martha Wilson. As such, Rachel will say: it's absurd the position we are born into as women, and making it more absurd - looking at it and laughing at it - is the only way out.
Did I read dance around the point, you think, scrolling back to the disco ball.
In order of reference:
Carson, A. (2000). Plainwater. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, p. 122.
Hyperallergic. (2020). In Martha Wilson’s New Photo Works, Feminism Meets the Absurd. [online] Available at: https://hyperallergic.com/247053/in-martha-wilsons-new-photo-works-feminism-meets-the-absurd/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].