The Girl Effect
Lombard-Freid Projects is delighted to announce The Girl Effect, an exhibition that is inspired by the notion that young girls are powerful agents for social change. The show brings together the work of seven young, internationally based women artists - Yara El-Sherbini, Cao Fei, Lauren Kelley, Tala Madani, Ana Prvacki, Rona Yefman/Tanja Schlander and Nina Yuen - whose work is engaged with social issues. The exhibition places their work in the context of The Girl Effect campaign (www.girleffect.org), which raises funds to support the education of young girls in poor communities in Africa and Asia. The wide reaching impact of The Girl Effect campaign and the work of its charities has met with tremendous success, as educated and self-confident young women become able to support their local economies and at the same time prevent the spread of AIDS, poverty and early pregnancy. These issues are both intimate and public- local and global - pose challenges and yet offer clear identifiable solutions. The Girl Effect exhibition represents an effective way for our gallery to play an expanded role in encouraging activism and charitable giving as a curatorial framework. The gallery has started a registry for public contribution and will be donating 10% of all sales to the campaign.
The artists participating in The Girl Effect represent diverse cultural backgrounds and employ strategies of humor, critique, introspection, and sometimes confrontation to convey subjects that are as varied as the media in which they are expressed (video, animation, installation, performance, sculpture). Their fresh and self-assured approaches offer provocative explorations of subjectivity, giving us access to new perspectives on social structures and encouraging us to interrogate our own participation in the processes of power.
Yara El-Sherbini (1978, London) inserts humor into recognizable forms of contemporary popular culture (Trivial Pursuit, Pub Quizzes, Auctions, etc.) as a strategy for questioning social and political systems of authority. As part of The Girl Effect exhibition, the gallery audience is invited to play A Rather Trivial Pursuit, an intellectually stimulating and competitively engaging version of the iconic board game. The questions, authored by the artist and written specifically for The Girl Effect, explore the trivial alongside the political and place subjective knowledge alongside common knowledge. Representative of the range of her interactive practice, which straddles between live art, installation and sculpture, El-Sherbini will be presenting A Pub Quiz as an opening night performance for the exhibition. Using this popular British form of entertainment, she playfully explores the intersection of art and life. A Pub Quiz was first commissioned by Arnolfini.
Lauren Kelley’s (1975, Baltimore, US. Lives and works in Houston.) 12-minute stop motion animation, Big Gurl (2006), offers a glimpse into the lives and psychology of three young, attractive black women. The film, for which she won a 2008 Altoids Award, uses modified Barbie dolls, inventive Plasticine sets, props and costume to evoke the most suggestive details of black culture (hair styles, colloquialisms, expressions of sexuality, etc). The raw quality of the jerky movements and unpolished voice-over narration contributes to the humor and poignancy of the scenes, shot one photographic still at a time, which are as racially specific as they are universally human. While one character sits alone in a crowded pregnancy clinic waiting room filled with a mix of bickering and adoring couples, another dodges unwanted advances from sleazy male patrons of the chicken and biscuit shack where she works.
Cao Fei (1978, Guangzhou, China. Lives and works in Beijing) is an important figure among the young generation of Chinese artists to emerge on the international scene in recent years. Her current and ongoing project, RMB City, is an experimental utopian world created in the virtual platform of Second Life. A new video filmed in Second Life, People’s Limbo (2009), will be presented in the exhibition. Through comical and philosophical interactions between figures such as Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, Lao Tze and a fictional Lehman Brother associate, the project explores feelings of despair and loss of control that have accompanied the recent global economic downturn, as well as the simultaneous potential for rebirth and renewed self-reliance.
Tala Madani (1981, Iran. Lives and works in Amsterdam and New York) presents an insightful personal interpretation of Iran’s patriarchal society, as her painted male characters are caught in absurd situations, transgressing norms of social behavior with a zest for guilty pleasure. The Apple Tree (2007), a short video animation created by painting and repainting a single canvas, exemplifies the distinctive force of her bold, subversive imagery and loose gestural brushstrokes. The animation depicts an uncomfortable vignette in which a balding Middle Eastern man engages in a masochistic knife throwing game.
Known equally as a performance artist, Ana Prvacki (1976, Serbia. Lives and works in Singapore) operates a semi-fictional company, Ananatural Production- at once, a conceptual and commercial venture- whose goal is to provide services and create an environment of open-ended investigation into modes of idea production. A project developed for this exhibition, POST APIS, is a new honey banking system designed as a protective measure against the ill effects of the en masse disappearance of the Western honeybee. Installed in the gallery will be an example of the customized, beehive sculpture for safe storage of local honey that POST APIS proposes.
Rona Yefman’s (1972, Israel. Lives and works in New York) video work celebrates heroes who live in reality yet dream of changing the world. In Pippi Longstocking, the Strongest Girl in the World, at Abu Dis (2006), the funny and fiercely independent girl known for her supernatural strength and red pigtails, played by Danish performance artist Tanja Schlander- makes an absurd attempt to tear down the massive concrete wall erected by the State of Israel separating it from the West Bank. Yefman’s implied self-criticism, paired with Pippi’s willful and sincere optimism, has the effect of exposing the boundaries of competing interests in order to demonstrate the often powerful simplicity of the shared desire to seek change.
Nina Yuen (1981, Hawaii. Lives and works in Amsterdam) approaches video as a tactile medium. Her seductively honest and visually striking narratives weave elements of personal relationships- mother, father, boyfriend- with found stories and appropriated personas (a snippet of Virginia Woolf’s suicide note, a missing persons report from rural Texas, etc). Low on special-effects, she composes environments of sensual richness in which the saturation of colors, wall patterns created using paper doilies, and vintage dress creates a nostalgia that transports the viewer while remaining absolutely contemporary. In Sung (2006), the character played by the artist delivers a monologue in which she lists everything she is sorry for to her absent boyfriend- ranging from the banal to admitting true emotional pain. “I’m sorry I scolded you for putting the dirty mop in the walk-in closet. I’m sorry I had a relationship with another man in front of your eyes.”
As part of The Girl Effect exhibition, Yara El-Sherbini invites you and your friends to play A Rather Trivial Pursuit, an intellectually stimulating and competitively engaging version of the iconic board game. Come along with a team or join one upon arrival and answer questions which playfully explore art and life. Such as, “Does the film Free Willy explore Free Will”? Or “In 2000, what did the US army Lt. Colonel Major Ralph Peters say “works” ethnic cleansing or re-chargeable batteries?
To reserve a slot on our schedule please email or call right away before slots fill up. Game slots are on the hour, every hour, from 11am- 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday for the duration of the exhibition. Refreshments served.