Gaffney, Sheila ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5894-873X and Schwab, Linda (1994) Object. [Artefact]


The output is an ‘artists’ book’ publication, conceptualised, designed and edited by Sheila Gaffney and Linda Schwab; comprising of written and visual material with contributions from the artist, photographer, critic, art historian and museum curator. Object was an element of the art intervention exhibition project Wunderkammer: the female gaze objectified at Leeds Art Gallery, 10th March – 16th April, 1994, which questioned the presence of female nudes made by male artists in our galleries. In the book form the beautiful ideal of woman signified by Antonio Canova’s Hope Venus (19th Century) is placed in close proximity the work of the two female artists, Gaffney and Schwab, who are working at the end of the 20th Century. Object retains the essential characteristics of a book, but is structured to encourage the reader’s choice in the seriality and sequence of the imagery it contains. Handling Object encourages an interplay of images of the female nude, both as it is authorised and staged within the politics of Museum exhibition and display cultures, and as it is represented by those who know it from lived experience. Object offers a curatorial strategy for the confrontation of the marble nude ideal with sculpture and painting practices that are informed by feminism and employed by Gaffney and Schwab. Research insights: The practice-based conceptualisation and project management of Object, alongside its related gallery intervention Wunderkammer: the female gaze objectified, made an original contribution to ways in which the sculpture collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries could be viewed, displayed and understood. The intervention into the collection was the result of a curated interaction between original artworks by women artists Gaffney and Schwab with selected items from the collections. Whilst the exhibited display and the book design provided immediate encounters, embodying questions of gender and authorship in relation to representations of women, the intervention and dissemination provoked a wider interrogation of museum ideology. The intervention made an original contribution to ways that artistic methods can introduce civic and private collections to new audiences and present individual artworks as theoretical objects. Practice and theory were combined in this project in a way that gave material form to scholarly considerations of the following topics: • female nudes in galleries and museums as made by male artists • the presentation of works of art in galleries • the objectivity of museum collections • the male gaze in museum collections • how contemporary art relates to the history of art • feminism and figurative sculpture Dissemination: The output was disseminated via exhibition, press and broadcast coverage.

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item