Kate Davis

15 Sep - 27 Oct 2007

"Your Body is a Battleground, Still (poster) 2", 2007, pencil / paper, framed 100 x 75 cm (courtesy Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow)


Opening Friday, September 14, 2007, 6 – 9 pm
Exhibition September 15 – October 27, 2007
Opening hours Tue – Sat 11 am – 6 pm

Through personal interpretation Kate Davis seeks to question the implications that significant works from the history of modern art can have on the present day. In her carefully structured installations Davis has made reference (both in terms of style and content) to female artists of the 20th century including Käthe Kollwitz, Faith Wilding and Barbara Kruger. By frequently appearing in her own drawings or photographs Davis consciously places herself, as a female artist working today, within that critique. With exhibition titles, such as "I want to function in the present time", "Your body is a battleground still" and "Waiting in 1972; What about 2007?", she examines a complex interplay between the past and the present. As part of this endeavour, bodies, body parts and bodily traces recur within the work, often fragmented and transformed to create a new meaning of both poetical and political nature.

The exhibition "The clear stark vision is getting lost again" is centred around an installation of the same title, consisting of plaster casts, drawings and eight large-scale prints accompanied by the sound of an opening and closing door. The visual parallels between the two main gallery spaces at Galerie Kamm led Davis to look at Joan Jonas’ ‘Mirror Piece’ performance works from the 1970s, in which women covered their bodies with mirrors thereby reflecting the audience and reducing themselves to passive objects.

Davis’ contemporary adaptation is not a repetition but a continuation as she reflects herself as her own audience: a picture shows the artist holding a large mirror mirroring the artist. The position of the former ‘object’ is therefore challenged. Besides being a continuation this installation is also an extension: on one of the other photographs, she carries a piece of felt; a material suggesting impermeability. The movement from one material to the other - from transparency to density -, is intensified by the sound of the opening and closing door.

With further spatial interventions Davis leads the viewer from the observation of a past activity, documented by the photographic prints, to a physical experience in the space: the size of the prints, mounted on wooden boards and leaning against the wall echoing the windows in the exhibition space. The four motifs from the gallery’s first room, reappear mirrored in the second space and vary only with regard to some letters printed onto the pictures. Put together, they form a word.
Positioning herself in front of art historically charged materials, such as felt and mirror, Kate Davis locates and visualises questions about the appropriation of history and its meaning for our identity. The loss, formulated in the title, could instead offer potential, opening up a realm between transferral and permanence, projection and reception, perception and evaluation.

Tags: Kate Davis, Joan Jonas, Käthe Kollwitz, Barbara Kruger