Sue Pam-Grant Dethrones the Lady on the Pedestal
‘With-Drawing: But Who Would Want You on Their Wall’, and ‘SHE’
Hazard Gallery, Arts on Main, Johannesburg,
5-7 November, 2015
Artist captures the woman behind the gaze
Fusing live performance, self-portraits in watercolour and two films, Sue Pam-Grant’s multi-media event, ‘but who would want you on their wall?’ is a tour de force seeking to reclaim the imperfect feminine, the woman of everyday life. The event includes an exhibition of self-portraits, simultaneous with a live performance, entitled ‘SHE’.
Mocking the notion that a woman’s purpose is to be looked at, Pam-Grant, her body covered in white paint, wearing dark sunglasses and a scarf, ascends a white pedestal to the background music of ‘SHE’ by Charles Aznavour, a living statue for the gaze of the audience.
Periodically adjusting her pose and her shadow upon the wall, the gaze of the audience is seduced to multiple events by the juxtaposition of her poses and shadows, two films on the wall opposite, one, a split screen film of her naked body, the other a film of her self-portraits, and the watercolours themselves on the wall in-between.
The performance ends abruptly with Pam-Grant descending the pedestal and erratically coursing her way through the crowd, making a remark about her I-Phone and other words under her breath, as she scurries out of the room, not to return. After a moment of shock, applause wells up in a crescendo in the delighted audience.
‘SHE’ throws down the gauntlet in the accelerating cultural war over the female form, the rape culture and the sexualisation of children. The strife explodes between the eternal feminine of the male gaze and the ordinary woman as she is in reality.
In an era in which young models with dangerously low levels of body fat are called ‘too big,’ Pam-Grant’s work challenges the cultural and economic terrorism against the female body by the fashion industry and the media.
Sue Pam-Grant liberates the imperfect woman, the female of everyday reality – ‘SHE’ – the woman who does not occupy the pedestal of the eternal feminine of male fantasy. Pam-Grant shows woman as she is, a woman who looks, talks, writes, and creates what she likes.
‘SHE’ captures the woman behind the gaze as she throws down the shackles of male fantasy.
“WITH-DRAWING: BUT WHO WOULD WANT YOU ON THEIR WALL’
The Self Portrait – The study of Self
The Artists’ most intimate theme – ‘HERSELF’
The Self Portrait is our complex interior view – the view that penetrates back beyond the frame.
And in those lines, we can see our Lineage, History, Cellular Patterning, Memory, Mark,
The KÄTHE KOLLWITZ Line – ‘silent lines’ – lines that etch deep into the very marrow of the ‘human condition’
Ninety-five years fill the space between Polish born artist, Käthe Kollwitz and South African born artist [with lineage from Lithuania and Russia], Sue Pam-Grant. But within the gap of almost a century of days and years, the unearthing of the ‘Mother-line and mark’ continues, since these anthropological findings are deeply embedded in the human condition.
KÄTHE KOLLWITZ [b1867 – d 1945]
Painter Printmaker Sculptor
Artist / Mother
SUE PAM-GRANT [b 1962 … ]
Interdisciplinary Artist Playwright Director Actor Designer
Mixed Media-Visual Artist
Sue Pam Grant is an interdisciplinary artist. Her practice has been as actor, writer, director and designer in the Theatre, and as a multi-media Artist in the Visual Arts. Her practice is working inside the intersection of the two disciplines, marking the points at which they collide, combine and combust.
She interrogates and unravels the astonishingly fine line that lies at the centre of her discourse ‘Resilience in Fragility – the Heart of the Human Condition.’
She works inside her autobiography, creating her intimate interior portraits that challenge and confront across the disciplines.
“WITH-DRAWING: BUT WHO WOULD WANT YOU ON THEIR WALL’
Thinking out aloud – Notes
What narrative arises out of ‘process’?
What happens in ‘process’?
Are process drawings end-drawings?
Drawings of impermanence
Erased marks but permanent stains
We can attempt to heal the wound
We cannot erase the scar
Marks of impermanence
A dialogue between the ‘Selfie’ and the Self Portrait
The contemporary Selfie?
The confrontation of Self
The Present Absence of Being
The parallel lines between the physical mark and the psychological mark of the drawing
The symbiotic relationship between the physical and psychological mark
Inside the dark seabed of charcoal shavings, a form appears and evolves…
I keep looking, erasing, shifting, re-drawing until I see that mark which I recognise.
I continue to search for that gaze in the window of the eye, I look for that mark which is viscerally familiar
For it is that century-old gaze that I deeply know and do not as yet understand.
sue pam-grant 2015
Thoughts and Ideas for hanging the installation ‘With-Drawing: But who would want you on their wall”
The installation consists of 12 drawings [ charcoal, aquarelle 107 x 78cm ]
Two companion films, to be projected onto opposite walls from each other.
The 12 portraits are then hung unframed [from either steel rope or bulldog clips] in a specific choreography on the four or three surrounding walls.
The idea not to put them behind glass, allows them to be bare, pure and present in their ‘raw’ states.
The required space for the above installation would need to be a ‘white cube ‘ space that could accommodate the above in a way whereby each portrait has space to breath and that the sculptural form and figure of the performance resembles that of a classical sculpture in it’s appropriate white cube gallery space environment.