During September-November 2016 my work was shortlisted for the annual Libensky Awards at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague.
The Stanislav Libenský Award (founded in 2009) is an international competitive glassmaking exhibition that every autumn in Prague presents the best work of graduates of art colleges who used glass in their degree projects. Visitors can thus see how the phenomenon of artistic glassmaking is developing on an international level through the arrival of a new generation of glassmakers. This exhibition is the only one of its kind in the world.
For young glassmakers, the annual award provides career development opportunities, while for the public it is an opportunity to see both fresh and traditional approaches to glassmaking. It is of course also a tribute to an artist and teacher who is rightly considered the greatest Czech glass artist.
Let’s Hook Up was the title of my graduate exhibition at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) from June 17th 2016. This work was done as part of a joint degree in fine art and art history.
In this project, I looked into the visuals and meaning of underwear and how this can be expressed. Lingerie particularly fascinates me; the separation from functionality to highly decorative intimate apparel that is sensual and at times entirely impractical, creates layers of meaning that are often confusing and contradictory. Sex and power go hand in hand and lingerie is intrinsically linked to both.
I studied and was influenced by texts such as Fields, Jill (2007) An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie and Sexuality, Gamman, Lorraine & Mackinen, Merja (1994) Female Fetishism: A New Look, and Steele, Valerie (1985) Fashion and Eroticism. I became aware of how underwear and the clothes we wear can affect our lives and point to particular societal codes. I looked to other artists who worked with underwear such as Sarah Lucas, Susan Taylor-Glasgow and Wang Zhiyuan to see what stories they told and how the materials and context affected the narrative.
Underwear and female sexuality can both be taboo subjects. I wanted to take these as themes that may cause feelings of embarrassment and vulnerability and turn them into something beautiful.