Mix media installation (6 soft shields, a mirror, a booklet with drawings, photograph), dimensions variable
First shown in Gallery Forum Box, Helsinki 2/2017
Rehearsal Space is an opening, a possibility for movement, re-thinking and communication. Equipped with soft, hand-embroidered shields, the space suggests new meanings and uses for the masculine object commonly associated with battle, defence and division. The objects are for the visitor to interact with, whether to comfort, to share, to sit on, to hug, to hide under, to play or to say no with.
Each shield carries a backstitched depiction of a hand belonging to Margaret of Antioch, a widely portrayed female saint, whose story is linked all the way to the pagan divinity Aphrodite. Margaret fought the devil, but is repeatedly pictured as an onlooker of her own story: fearful, praying or passively holding different objects. Floating on the surface of the fabric, out of their original context, the hands take on a more secular, ambiguous and active role, inviting the visitors in the Rehearsal Space to explore new body positions for compassion, resistance and gathering.
The shields are also used as feminist protest tools outside of the gallery context. The photograph in the installation was taken during the Women’s March on London, which took place in January 2017.
The work has been kindly supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland.