Conceiving Histories private viewing and reception
Venue: Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD
Booking details: Free entry; booking required
How can something that doesn’t happen have a history? How can there be a material trace of un-pregnancy in the archive? This exhibition explores this paradox, finding and considering a material history of pregnancy feigned, imagined, hidden and difficult to diagnose. Reimagining, through structure and shape, the look of things that have been left to us in text, the Conceiving Histories exhibition re-materialises with photography, sculpture and drawing the past of un-pregnancy.
Conceiving Histories is a collaboration between academic and literary historian, Isabel Davis, and visual artist, Anna Burel. From this collaboration emerge fantastical and fictional reworkings of archival materials, work which explores the power, and lack of power, of the mind over the reproductive body. Attempts to diagnose pregnancy fertilize the imagination and, so, the imagination compensates in the face of reproductive disappointment. This exhibition explores the search for signs of pregnancy in, from and on the body as well as messages and messengers, divine or otherwise. Empty uterine spaces are displaced from the corporeal frame, sometimes labelled and dated, sometimes filled with strange visions, reimagining female subjectivity in relation to the unknowability of the body. Swollen and flat structures, pads and envelopes, empty and filled, contrast the fantasies of or desire for pregnancy and the reality of the un-pregnant body. The body can be as opaque as history, resistant, mediated and difficult to read. This exhibition threads together lived experiences through time, linking the past to the present, offering new ways to think about our reproductive futures.
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