Sharon Kivland

The Natural forms I, II, III


Output: Exhibition

This solo exhibition, realised in three evolving, discrete iterations, addresses questions of role attribution, gender construction, and economic exchange (value forms, after Marx). Unfolding across three venues, Kivland responds to each space and context with additional material, producing a discussion of gender in relation to current and historic social conditions. The relation between form and content and the social aspects of the seemingly ‘neutral’ form are ongoing themes of Kivland’s research, regarding the form of the commodity fetish as a founding structural moment of society.

Kivland employs a wide range of media, sources, and reference systems to demonstrate the role of feminine representation in the economic theory and social reality of capitalist systems. In conversation with large-format portraits of anonymous women derived from vintage journals, are films, drawings, objects, texts, and an unusual menagerie of hunting trophies, weasels, foxes, and squirrels, equipped with various accessories – as revolutionary readers, leading their metaphorical lives at the epicentre of the exhibition.

They play out new rituals in an arena where Marx and Freud meet, at the intersection of the object of perversion with the commodity, an encounter between psychoanalysis and Marxist political/economic theory. Women appear first as models, objects carried to the market-place (after Luce Irigaray), while naturalised animals (in a dual sense: more natural than nature, and in French, as ‘citizens’) perform an exchange that the women – if commodities or objects – cannot undertake themselves. Kivland ultimately suggests movement is possible: as women read, become literate, self-educate, they take to the streets. The foxes are brought once again to life in this new encounter.

The exhibition’s argument concludes on this note of dark optimism, proposing social organisation can be subject to change (if the dead, animal or woman, starts to speak, moves, acts). For Kivland, it is matter of agency.

Research Output

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

Kivland’s exhibition-making methods propose an alternative to the touring exhibition. Adaptive, and conversational, responding to the particularities of each venue and situation, working closely with the curators and the technical teams, each iteration performs as though it were a chapter in a book, where the same characters appear, but in another form or speaking otherwise.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

Sharon Kivland