JESSE JONES - SYLLABUS
24.01.2020 - ∞
“This giant exaggerated female arm is a kind of spell that I'm trying to cast over the institution in terms of the possibility of the female body in the institutional space.”
“What does it mean for women to be under the reach of feminism, what does it mean to occupy an institution?”
Syllabus is a new artwork by the Irish artist Jesse Jones. A monumental, 12m high semi-transparent curtain is being moved through the gallery, creating a space-filling moving image of a floating, giant arm. It is the left arm of the well-known feminist and activist scholar Silvia Federici, embracing not only the institution, but also creating a new protective space in Kunsthal Gent.
As the contract between the artist and Kunsthal Gent reads: “Syllabus is simultaneously the space created by the curtain, the materials thereof, and all of the relational and temporal qualities of the artwork.” One of the conditions in the contract is that “... Kunsthal Gent shall host an activist reading group once every month for the duration of the loan. The syllabus for the reading group shall be set by Silvia Federici and Jesse Jones, and shall consist of selections from Federici’s works and others. Kunsthal Gent shall offer these texts for sale in the gallery in a single book bookshop.”
'Other women's flowers', the Ghent-based book club that highlights women's voices, will be the first activist reading group to be hosted in the monumental artwork. Also Engagement, an artist-led movement tackling sexual harassment, sexism and power abuse in the Belgian arts field will gather there. We gladly welcome new initiatives.
The work will remain visible as long as the conditions of the contract are respected. The contract is on view in the gallery, copies are available upon request.
The single book bookshop can be found at the desk of Kunsthal Gent. The first book on the list is a recent book by Silvia Federici: 'Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women' (2018).
Jesse Jones is a Dublin-based artist and teaches visual arts at the TU Dublin School of Creative Arts. Her practice crosses the media of film, performance and installation. She often works in collaborative structures and investigates how historical examples of shared culture can play a role in our current social and political experiences. Recent exhibitions and projects include the important new work ‘In the Shadow of the State’, commissioned by Artangel (UK) and Create with financial support from Ireland 2016, and created in collaboration with artist Sarah Browne. Jesse Jones represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2017. Until March 2020 the Guggenheim in Bilboa (ES) presents her solo show 'Tremble Tremble / Temblad Temblad'. SYLLABUS builds on the earlier work NO MORE FUN AND GAMES - Feminist Parasite Institution, realized in the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin in 2016.
Silvia Federici is a feminist, writer, teacher, and activist. Her research and political organizing accompany a long list of publications on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education, culture, international politics, and the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalisation and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons.