Intimate Distance: Five Female Artists
25 July - 9 September 1989
The exhibition Intimate Distance brings together the diverse photographic work of Zarina Bhimji, Sutapa Biswas, Mona Hatoum, Ingrid Pollard and Maxine Walker, 5 women each made a significant impact on the recent, increasingly pluralistic picture of contemporary art in Britain. As black women, living and working in this country, their work has developed around related ideas and motivations, but this exhibition represents a more specific point of contact. The work here, is linked, not by a shared ideology or by any spurious notion off a homogeneous Black Culture, but by its direct, often intimate reference to the individual history of the artist; offering a kind of searching analysis foregrounds the complexity of cultural difference.
In developing and interplay between this work the exhibition sets out to re-examine the relationship between the private and public, between the personal and political. it will draw connections across the arena of black cultural politics while recognising that the foundations of such broad cultural debate remain firmly embedded in the fabric of personal experience.
This is not imply that this work satisfies itself with a reliance on the known and understood, on the familiar and finite. if anything deliberately refutes such a position. The emphasis here on personal, private lives is marked by ironies and tensions; the themes of migration separation and displacement that echo throughout the exhibition are delineated by repeated conflicts, near and far, intimacy and estrangement, integration and alienation end between pleasure and pain. The distance or unresolved space created by the presence of this polarities, wether physical, emotional or cultural, is the domain in which this work operates, eschewing received wisdom and resisting firm conclusions.
In dealing with such complex ideas of these 5 artists varies widely and the exhibition consciously explores the use of photography through a range of practices, from documentary based imagery the video and three-dimensional installation. Much of the work has been commissioned by The Photographers' Gallery especially for this exhibition, allowing existing ideas and work in progress to be brought to fruition.