Anarchy is Ordinary
BISCHOFF/WEISS is pleased to present Anarchy is Ordinary an exhibition of new work by Kate Hawkins. Through performance, video and painting Kate Hawkins produces work that confronts popular ideas of conformity and dissent, exploring the fallacies and idiosyncrasies of the social rituals, manners and mores that govern contemporary relationships.
The video work, Anarchy is Ordinary (2008), considers how ideas of dissent have become entrenched within contemporary society. Hawkins proposes that opposition has come to exist merely for its own sake; leached of meaning it has become alarmingly habitual, failing to confront or shock. Anarchy is Ordinary asks important questions about how opposition can continue to function when traditional forms of rebellion have been homogenised and dissent is spoken of as though devoid of historical context.
Also included within the exhibition are a series of paintings which look to Mrs Beeton's aspirational napkin folding illustrations (Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 1923) and modern twentieth century formal abstraction. On the surface, the napkin paintings appear as abstract forms liberated from dependence on the figure and the object, suggesting autonomy from the specific contexts that condition their making. However their autonomous appearance belies the strong rules of etiquette – as prescribed by Mrs Beeton’s handbook - that govern their production. Though the paintings are reliant on an understanding of the conventions of dinner etiquette, they also seek, through playful imitation, to draw attention to the pettiness of such polite social rituals. In demonstrating that our desire to escape restrictive conventions is articulated within the context of the very conservatism we seek to reject, Hawkins communicates the inherent paradox of individual expression.
On the opening night of the exhibition Kate Hawkins together with Eloise Fornieles will perform the piece You’re Too Kind. The performance takes the form of a series of successive compliments based loosely on the Persian custom Taarof. A verbal dance between the two protagonists will be played out in which they each attempt to outdo one another with an increasingly ornamented script of compliments.
Kate Hawkins is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and the Slade School of Fine Art. Solo shows include Harpies & Queens, Ritter/Zamet, London (2007). In addition her work has been exhibited widely in a number of group shows, both in Britain and abroad. These include Two Sidedness, CultureHouse, Stockholm (2008), 2(007) Pranvere, National Gallery, Tirana, Albania (2007), Zelda Rubenstein, Paradise Row, London (2007), Drawn Apart East, Contemporary Art Projects, London (2007), Intimate Experiences, BISCHOFF/WEISS, London (2006) and Goods to Declare/MFA International, Tel Aviv, Israel (2006). The artist has also been awarded grants from the I-MYU Projects/Arts Council Korea (2007) and the British Arts Council, MFA International Travel Fund (2006).