Hello my name is Jenny - Denise Hawrysio 12 June - 10 July 2005
Canadian artist Denise Hawrysio made a new site-specific installation using thousands of female head-shots cut from Spotlight, the actors directory. Faces of women of all ages, races and performative styles were fixed to the gallery’s glass front, transforming London’s commercial bible for actors seeking jobs into a complex translucent wallpaper visible both from the street and from within the gallery. The book itself, with its punctured pages, was re-bound by Hawrysio and presented on a clear acrylic lecturn in the centre of the space; each page could be seen in rapid-fire succession on a DVD in the corner.
The piece addressed notions of celebrity obsession and our complex and often torturing system of recognition which deems some people famous and others failures: many of the women featured in this 80s edition of the directory are no longer in the profession, though the younger selves of several well-known figures could be seen. The obsessive job of cutting out the thousands of faces by hand appropriately reinforced these notions and the piece also raised issues about the construction, re-construction or indeed de-construction of personality. Hawrysio’s fictive multiple, Jenny, even created a press release which was, in itself, a work of art.
The exhibition ran from June to July 2005 and was supported by Southwark Council and Canada House.
Hawrysio has lived in London since 1984. She has exhibited widely in the UK, Canada and Europe, and is represented in many private and museum collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum. She was founder of the influential MALANIA BASARAB Gallery, which she ran from her council flat in South London in the early 90s and is currently course leader in the print and digital arts department at Wimbledon School of Art. Current projects include 15/1(3) at Overgaden in Copenhagen, which runs from October to November 2005.
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