Stevphen Shukaitis Q & A on Gee Vaucher’s Introspective.
We caught up with Stevphen Shukaitis Senior Lecturer in Culture & Organisation at Essex University and co-curator of the Gee Vaucher exhibition, and aked him some questions on Introspective.
What first drew you to Gee Vaucher’s work and the decision to mount this exciting survey show?
I first came across Gee’s work as a teenager through Crass. There’s something immediately gripping about her imagery. It was only after moving to the UK that I was able to learn more about her much broader range of work. The impetus for the exhibition came out of discussions about nominating her for an honorary degree at the University of Essex. And I really hope that this exhibition will really help people gain a fuller sense of the work Gee has done.
Vaucher seems like a staunchly independent spirit, which must have been wonderful to work with. Can you tell us a bit about how it was working together on this project?
Indeed, Gee is truly a free spirit – and thus working with her is always dancing back and forth between simply magical and inspiring while teetering on the edge of madness. It’s been great, and definitely a lot of work, but very much looking forward to seeing it all come together.
Do you have a favorite work in the show?
It’s really hard to pick one work, especially across such a large exhibition taking up the entire museum. But given that I’m especially excited about getting to exhibit materials from EXIT, the performance art project Gee was in with Penny Rimbaud during the late 60s and early 70s. And that includes never before seen footage filmed in Colchester. And the room with the large painting of children traumatized by having seen too much of the horrors of the world is especially moving as well.
Although she prefers not to be labeled, it seems as though Vaucher is definitely a feminist. How do you feel Vaucher’s work succeeds in pushing for gender equality whilst never explicitly saying that.
Gee’s work can clearly be seen addressing concerns that fit in with a feminist narrative. Gee doesn’t want to limit herself or her work by fixing it within any category, whether feminism, anarchism, or any other ism. But you can see through out her work a clear and constant focus on questions of violence, the state, oppression, and the psychological effects of power and control. But she also hangs on to a resolutely utopian understanding that we can be different, that we can find other ways to live and be together, not stuck within the knots of those damaging relationships.
This Thursday December 1st Stevphen Shukaitis will lead a panel discussion on the work of Gee Vaucher. More details HERE
Gee Vaucher: Introspective is at Firstsite until 19th February 2017 10am – 5pm Free