Ideas of class and exploitation to be exhibited at Tate Modern

29 May 2018

Artists, academics and young people from Kent have joined forces once again to produce artwork that explores social class, gender and abjection which will be exhibited at Tate Modern.

Dr David Bates, Director of Politics and International Relations at Canterbury Christ Church University, has been working with the Artist Kelly Green, Dr Licia Cianetti of Royal Holloway, University of London, and young people from Astor College for the Arts, Dover, on the ‘What are you Looking at?’ project.

The project initially débuted at Sidney Cooper Gallery, and will now be exhibited at the Tate Modern from 30 May to 3June. It will form part of a wider exhibition entitled ‘Other’ at the London gallery, which sets out to play creatively with the production of otherness and explore how art can be used to connect people.

What Are You Looking At? builds on the work developed in the University’s Activism Research Network, and gives young people and participants the opportunity to explore the production and reproduction of abjection, which crosses between class, sexuality, ethnicity, body image and ideology. It also explores how contemporary capitalism could be argued to have cast aside those (sometimes whole communities) that it does not regard as productively useful.

The work in this project sets out to destabilise and unsettle oppressive ideologies through the creation of autonomous spaces for political expression and debate.

It builds on the show Fairground which was at the Sidney Cooper Gallery and the Tate Modern last year. The Tate Modern exhibition (working in partnership with the University of Kent, People United (Kent), Valleys Kids (Rhondda Valley), Astor College for the Arts) attracted over 4,500 members of the public.   

Dr Bates said: “We are delighted to make a contribution to the Tate Exchange programme again this year. We will be addressing the thorny issue of social class. We will explore how class intersects with gender. How commodified ideas of body image serve to subordinate. The work explores how exploited groups come also to be ‘abjectified’, transformed into a curious ’other’. Class really does still count; but class relations can be subverted.”

Artist Kelly Green added: “The students from Astor College have worked incredibly hard to create their thought-provoking and challenging pieces commenting on gender and class. I couldn’t be prouder of them and our team.”

For more information visit the Tate Modern website.

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Last edited: 04/06/2018 11:09:00