Well-known photographers turn their cameras to women – and the collection will celebrate female body as a storytelling medium. They accentuate identity and use the photos to showcase individual and collective experience. The exhibition Terrains of the Body, featuring a collection of disruptive, emotional images opens tomorrow at Whitechapel Gallery.

terrains of the body whitechapel gallery

The collection has been inspired by and organised in partnership with National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. The works of seventeen contemporary artists will present how women depict people through the lens. But it will also show us what they see when they point the camera at themselves.

Terrains of the Body focuses on how women portray themselves and others through the medium of photography, in domestic settings and expansive spaces,” says Emily Butler, the curator of the exhibition. “The artists in this display embrace the female body as a vital medium for documenting and expressing identity, reflecting individual and collective experiences, and forming narratives,” she adds.

The featured artists include a famous performing artist Marina Abramović, a Dutch photographer known for her portraits Rineke Dijkstra, and Anna Gaskell who champions “narrative photography”. You’ll be also able to see the photos of Nan Goldin, famous for The Ballad of Sexual Dependency that bravely featured abusive relationships, drugs, and hinted at her personal experiences.

The list of names is, however, much longer: it includes also Adriana Varejão, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, Candida Höfer, Mwangi Hutter, Kirsten Justesen, Justine Kurland, Nikki S. Lee, Hellen van Meene, Shirin Neshat, Daniela Rossell, Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation, Icelandic Love Corporation, and Janaina Tschäpe.

Terrains of the Body fits into the activities that support and celebrate women in arts in Whitechapel Gallery. A series of initiatives organised by this cultural institution has shown a lot of excellent work from female artists.

“The Whitechapel Gallery has a long history of exhibiting and championing pioneering women artists,” explains the curator. “Our current season includes a show by the Guerrilla Girls looking at the representation of women artists in European collections. We’ve also commissioned Alicja Kwade to create an immersive installation reflecting on our position in space and time. Moreover, Emma Hart has just completed a residency in Italy as part of our Max Mara prize for women artists that we’ll unveil next summer, and much more…”

The exhibition opens on the 18th of January. The collection will be available until the 16th of April 2017, free of charge.

Terrains of the Body at Gallery 7, Whitechapel Gallery. 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX. Free entry, Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-6pm. The gallery is opened until 9pm on Thursdays.

Kasia Kwasniewska

Editor in Chief

Loves reading, watching films, eyeing (and producing) good design, listening to music and stuffing her face with chocolate whenever the opportunity arises. Cooks from time to time, and drinks far too much coffee to be a normal human being. Liked my work? Buy me a coffee!

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