Artist talk in the occasion of her current exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
Nancy Spero: A Conference. Artists, academics and curators, including Jon Bird, Clayton Eshleman, Margaret Harrison, Hans Ulrich-Obrist, Gill Perry, Olivia Plender, Lisa Tickner and Monica Ross, gather to discuss and celebrate the work of Nancy Spero and its relationship to feminism, literature, philosophy and theatre, specifically focusing on the distinctive understanding of the relationship between Nancy Spero's work and that of Artaud. Documentary films of the artist made by Irene Sosa over the past 15 years will be screened throughout the conference. Artist and activist Nancy Spero (1926-2009) was a leading pioneer of feminist art. During her 50-year career, she created a vibrant visual language constructed from the histories and mythologies of past and present cultures. Trained in the figurative tradition, Spero was greatly influenced not only by the enduring dialogue with her husband Leon Golub, but also by artists including Jean Dubuffet and by the objects and artefacts she discovered in ethnographic museums. Spero rejected the dominant post-war movements of formalist Abstraction and Pop Art in the 1950s, developing a more ephemeral way of working that used paper and collage, gouache and printmaking - a process she described as allowing for 'all manner of processions, conflicts, interruptions and disruptions'. Spero created an identity through the acts of borrowing and disguise. In early work, texts as well as images were enlisted from a wide range of sources to express alienation, disempowerment and physical pain. Directly quoting the writing of poet and playwright Antonin Artaud, Spero voiced her anger at being exiled as a female artist to the peripheries of the art world. Spero's often radical work made strong statements against war, male dominance and abuses of power, presenting compelling arguments for tolerance and a non-hierarchical society. Yet her work was never simplistically utopian. 'Utopia, like heaven,' she once remarked, 'is kind of boring.' From 11am to 15pm, tickets 5 or 10 pounds.