The F Word

October 16, 2008

Humorous and serious, challenging and evocative, the pieces in The F Word counter the popular notion that feminism is outdated. Women and men shrink at that term, that label. The F Word points out that in contemporary art and culture, feminist art practices, with their focus upon identity, the body, and power, still remain incredibly relevant. So it is with Paralysed, a video by Swedish artist Klara Lidén.

“You see her on a subway train in Sweden,” says Hopkins, “with a hardcore punk band playing as the soundtrack. She’s stripping, wearing boy’s basketball shorts. It’s not sexualised. Rather, she takes over the space of the subway. It’s not so much a dance as a way of occupying that space. It’s not what you expect at all. It shifts your brain and perspective and your idea of the purpose of stripping.”

Besides a room of single-channel videos, the exhibition also includes a twenty-foot long accordion bound book with video stills by artist-in-residence Allyson Clay, with Lisa Robertson and Nathalie Stephens. The gallery has also built a separate wood-paneled office space for the Lesbian Park Rangers, which includes recruitment, paint-by-numbers pamphlets, antlers and a typewriter.

The F Word is presented in conjunction with WACK! at the Vancouver Art Gallery, an epic touring collaboration with New York’s PS1. That exhibition, which spans feminist practices from 1965 to 1980, has “also a really extensive catalogue, like three inches thick”.

The F Word runs from Sat October 18 – Sat November 22 at Vancouver’s Western Front ARC, with works by Rebecca Belmore, Patty Chang, Allyson Clay with Lisa Robertson and Nathalie Stephens, Kate Craig with Margaret Dragu, Shawna Dempsey and Lorrie Millan, Klara Lidén, Deirdre Logue, Jillian McDonald, Lisa Steele, and Salla Tykkä.

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