Body I Am


Today I visited the Alison Jacques gallery – a compact white wall space on Berners Street, near Oxford Circus. Although I haven’t been for a few months, it’s a gallery that’s close to my heart; the year I moved to London I stood outside on a warm September evening, amongst an awed crowd that blocked the traffic, gazing at Patti Smith perform for the opening of a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition.

The gallery’s current exhibition shows work by two of my favorite artists – Hannah Wilke (1940-93) and Ana Mendieta (1948-85), and a name new for me – Birgit Jürgenssen (1949-2003). During the seventies these three artists made work which explored contemporary issues of feminism by reproducing their own bodies in drawings, photography, film and sculpture. The small selection of works on display reflect the remarkable similarities between independently working artists; all three produced work in a number of different media, and placed themselves in front of the camera at times, whilst both Birgit Jürgenssen and Hannah Wilke made ceramic sculptures that are metaphorical of the female body.

This small, but not inadequate exhibition gives an intriguing glimpse into their art. On until 16 February.

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