Filmed at the Palais de Justice in Brussels, an enormous and ornate 19th century courthouse designed to depict law in terms of the sublime. Contradicting the familiar patriarchal culture of law, Young’s camera depicts female judges and lawyers at court. Sitting at trial, directing proceedings or delivering judgments, female judges are seen through a series of circular windows in courtroom doors. Palais de Justice subtly builds a counter-narrative: a legal system seemingly centred on, and perhaps controlled by women, as if male presence may be optional or unnecessary in this particular future. Young’s camera seems implicated, either caught within reflections, or through becoming noticed by some of her subjects. The windows and the camera’s lens are suggested as an interwoven series of oculi, in which we watch justice as performance and are ourselves implicated as witnesses and voyeurs. The piece considers the complex relations between lenses, surveillance and ideas of framing or being framed, which are at the core of the law-related work Young has been developing for more than a decade.
About the speaker:
Carey Young is a visual artist based in London whose work centres on the relationships between the body, language and systems of power. Since 2003 she has developed a number of artistic works that are also functional legal instruments. Whilst taking diverse forms including video, sculpture, photography, performance and installation, these works have explored diverse areas of legal knowledge and practice such as contracts, intellectual property, inheritance law and the legal frameworks relating to outer space. Young’s work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2013); The Power Plant, Toronto (2009); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009), and group shows at Aspen Art Museum (2016); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2015); Tate Liverpool (2014-15); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012); New Museum, New York (2011) and; Tate Britain (2009–10). Works in public collections include Tate Gallery, Arts Council England, Kadist Art Foundation, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst and Centre Pompidou. A monograph on her work, Subject to Contract, was published by JRP | Ringier in 2013. Young teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London and is also an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Law at Birkbeck, University of London. She is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Dallas Museum of Art will stage a solo exhibition of her work which will open in February 2016.
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Law Research Seminars are held on Wednesdays at lunchtime. The seminars are free and open to the public, and a light lunch is provided.