Emily Hesse – Taste of this History: a Church in my Mouth
Workplace Foundation presents The Taste of this History: a Church in my Mouth a solo exhibition of new and existing works by Emily Hesse.
Do you remember the first morning you awoke to find the world was no longer tangible?
Do you remember when you felt the centre of things tilt slightly on its axis?
Do you remember, as a woman, what it was to watch what you knew fall away, becoming some sort of manipulated care package travelling to Mars, containing within it what you thought was care, tenderness, belonging: your church?
As you watched it forced into another dimension, did it mutate?
Did you think that you witnessed transformation, or did you question your own witnessing until you disbelieved even the actions your eyes had themselves absorbed into your very being?
Tell me, when it all fell away, were you alone?
Can you still taste the stale memory of the space it occupied?
Do you still believe in love?
Emily Hesse 2018
Emily Hesse’s interdisciplinary, often collaborative practice, includes the use of performance, drawing, writing, sculpture, ceramics and installation. Her work questions and aggravates social and political power dynamics through psychogeography, philosophy, and regional folk histories, collective action, the use of aesthetics as a tool for subversion and the use of land and its associated materials as a physical form of protest.
Deeply rooted in social structures and the landscape itself, Hesse’s work is born of the space she occupies and underpinned by free thinking approach influenced by the philosophies of 20th century thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, Rachel Bespaloff, Albert Camus and Heinrich Blucher. Utilising aesthetics as a tool for subversion, Hesse takes her own land, and the overlooked materials of historical significance around her these often ugly, unfamiliar materials deliver thought provoking content and are transformed into objects of collective familiarity.
Since 2014, Hesse has collected the now discarded, material fragments of industrial Teesside in brick form. The bricks themselves all once formed the homes, buildings and structures of Hesse’s hometown of Middlesbrough and were originally manufactured in the North East. Each brick speaks of personal, collective or political mythologies associated with her land and it’s people or is made from, in clay form, that land itself. The direct marking of the bricks or their altering by re-firing and treating as ceramic objects is done so with everyday and found materials such as correction fluid, chalk, sand and glass but also more valuable gold leaf and copper in order to distort ideas of worth, value, invisibility and validity. In Hesse’s on going plight to write marginalised communities into history, she considers these works as building blocks; they not only hold the historical weight of an untold regional history, but also create a space for previously silenced and unheard voices to speak.
Drawing together a landscape and it’s emotional content (like bringing a stone and a hammer to the table) Hesse pieces together the weight of a regional feminist history and places it into the current international framework of female identity politics. Bringing together for the first time intimate new works in performance, ceramics, sculpture and painting to be shown alongside earlier work The Taste of this History: a Church in my Mouth highlights what she sees as the invisibility and marginalisation of North East women and the shifting dialogues that have been used without recourse, to describe what it is to be a woman over her career to date.
3rd November – 22nd November 2018