Friday, 8 November 2013

Response to Georgina Starr's Before Le Cerveau Affamé, Cooper Gallery

Georgina Starr, Before Le Cerveau Affamé, Cooper Gallery
Until 13 December 2013

The gallery space of Georgina Starr's Before Le Cerveau Affamé is a theatrical playground, filled with pastel hues, lighting and heavy curtains. The works on show offer an exploration of femininity that permeates through the generations, free from the male gaze, creating a 'No Boys Allowed Club' atmosphere that recalls the sexual rebellion of flappers and The Spice Girls (which I mean as a sincere compliment.) If one were to enter with a cynical head on, they might see the world of Le Cerveau as a bit fluffy – a place where little girls can run around chewing bubblegum and doing cartwheels in their Sunday dress, however there is more serious side to it.

Pink brains sit on literal pedestals like specimens in a morgue. The tarot cards create their own esoteric symbolism, a small glimpse into an arcane religion. Shrieks emit from the headphones in the corner.

For me, the video work is key to the show, bringing everything together and making every other piece seem a few shades darker after viewing. It shows the questioning of 'what will I be when I grow up?' and the wide-eyed wonder of youth being eroded by domesticity:

(She was a free flowing spirit//
What are you gonna do about the baby?//
A washing machine//
Overwhelming sadness//
Is this a picture of your mother?//
You know when you're going to die)

The repeated sound clip of 'what are you gonna do about the baby' suddenly makes the tarot card of The Mothers seem rather poignant. Afterwards, the mirror on the wall becomes a vessel for introspection. How do you see yourself and are you a picture of your mother?

Abi Dryburgh, Time Based Art Level 4, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

Extracts from Before Le Cerveau Affamé, video, 2012, Georgina Starr.

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