Iris Touliatou: mothers

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Open: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm

12a Bourdon St, W1K 3PG, London, UK
Open: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm


Iris Touliatou: mothers

to Sat 19 Nov 2022

Artist: Iris Touliatou

12a Bourdon St, W1K 3PG Iris Touliatou: mothers

Tue-Sat 11am-6pm

to honour a new family by stretching its existing and future ties inconveniently is maybe a strange thing to do, but the subject here is not the institution of the museum, nor that of the gallery, but that of artistic practice and the symbolic and material economies within which it exists.

When we began, it was unclear whether it was even possible. During August, we attempted a critique of feelings, and more feelings came out loud, in public, some good, some bad, some ambivalent, definitely mixed.

We also had a lot of questions.

Is there enough water?
Is there enough pressure?
Is there a right time?
What is necessary and how is it connected?
What is permitted and how is it dismantled?
Who decides and who functions?
What is still available and to whom?

When does the work start and when does the work stop?
Are we allowed?
Are they autonomous?
Can we rely on them?
How do we care?
How much of a commitment is that?
Will we miss something ?
Can it be replaced?
Should it be replaced?
What will happen after?
Do we still believe in this, or have we changed our minds?

Lots of questions and lots of feelings are great, but the unfinished business of sentimentality at some point comes down to facts. I wasn’t met with great resistance, not the one I was hoping for.

Infrastructures—things and systems made, built, old, new, lived, loved, hated, sustained, or resisted—often remain invisible, enigmatic, sometimes unquestioned. They become apparent and change when friction is applied.

If the mother is still the model of successful femininity, the ethical figure par excellence, the mothers presented here embody care, provisions, relief, refusals, failures, rest and arrest. They wake up, they stop, they restart, they reset, they move, they lose, they collapse. They are ordinary, they are excessive, they have no more, they are open to future circulation or they are an end in themselves.

During August I read that Lauren Berlant, apparently standing in tree pose, replied to a particularly long winded question after a keynote they’d given:

There are only two kinds of questions; am I right or are you my mother?


September, 2022

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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