FREE LOVE HURTS
Bon Mott - Edward Ounapuu - Caroline Phillips - Jennifer Rooke - Callum Royle - Siying Zhou
2 August - 2 September 2017
Opening night: Thursday 3 August, 6-8pm
This exhibition asks six contemporary artists to respond to the radical Soviet feminist activism of Alexandra Kollontai.
A sexual revolutionary, an author and a diplomat, Kollontai served as one of the first women in the Bolshevik government's inner circle after the 1917 Russian Revolution. She fought female oppression and argued that women’s emancipation should extend to their sexuality, as well as their traditional roles in society. Kollontai felt that marriage was an unnatural constraint upon human behaviour, advocating ‘free love’ instead.
Within the parameters of their individual practices, the six artists in this exhibition explore the somewhat marginalised figure of Kollontai, manifesting in artwork that reflects both their research and interpretations. Archival material is threaded throughout the exhibition, further inviting an investigation of Kollontai’s contributions in a contemporary context.
A limited edition zine is available on opening night, encompassing curator Rachel Pearce’s personal response to Kollontai.
As many of Kollontai's policies were overturned by Stalin in the 1920s, this exhibition stands as a reminder of feminism's troubled path, and its powerfully optimistic future.
Curated by Rachel Pearce and Andrée Ruggeri