Sharon Kivland

Folles de leur corps - Crazy about their bodies


Output: Exhibition

This solo exhibition continues Kivland’s longstanding enquiry into ‘the material relations between persons and the social relations between things’, following Marx. The project employs feminine representation as the lens, through which to reveal gendered relations between revolutionary movements in France from the eighteenth to twentieth century, paradigm shifts made legible in the codes of women’s dress and comportment.

Staged as tableaux, Kivland’s material forms entwine politics and aesthetics in the intersection of public political action and private subjectivity, testing their affective relation through shared cultural production in the present.

The works trace feminine representation across time, revealing paradigm shifts in the forms taken by both public action and women’s education. Older works are included, like actors in a travelling troupe, each time employed to new purpose, revised or entirely remade. Placed in relation to new works, set in new arrangements, they change forms, mutable even as they repeat.

The mise-en scène included a library (from Kivland’s own, those used in research for the works), a bookshop (in collaboration with Artwords bookshop, London), a reading room (which has remained in the gallery), and an artist’s residency for artist Chris Gibson as librarian-in-residence during each weekend of the exhibition, in conversation with visitors. There was a related film-screening of Peter Watkin’s La Commune. Paris 1871 at Sands Film Club, Bermondsey, followed by a public discussion. There was an opening performance with sixteen women, wearing works from the exhibition.

An ‘agit-disco’ was conceived by Stefan Sczelkun with Kivland. A book accompanied the exhibition, including short essays in conversation with works in the exhibition by twenty-one writers from the fields of psychoanalysis, philosophy, art history, literary criticism, human geography, film criticism, comparative literature, and art. The events, exhibition, and book form a phalanstery, after Fourier, a place of encounter, where common space is opened.

Research Output



This project contains further videos that can accessed via the full case study below.

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

Research Method

Kivland employed her usual combination of material and archival research, close reading, and working in close collaboration with the then director of CGP, Ron Henoq, to select existing works, while developing new works, considering their relation to both the architecture of the gallery and to the particular theoretical context of the new staging. She was concerned with ideas on the shaping of bodies and places of encounter, thinking especially about the Paris Commune of 1871.

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