Rose-Anne Gush

Rose-Anne Gush felt like she needed to explore the history of women, and to engage with women artists in order to peruse artwork in feminism and politics. One of the key questions that Gush wanted to look at was that of; how do you overcome scale and how is it transferring in art practices? In order to begin this, Gush has become a third person in the relationship between Valie Export and Elfriede Jelinek, both artists that she has been looking at for her MA.

Gush’s work centres around learning about how these two artists practice in detail, almost down to their thought process, and even considering how they live and breathe. Valie Export looks a lot at feminism and the history of the feminine experience. As part of this, one of her works has been to roll over glass, and then roll over a large piece of paper to record all the marks. Gush is personally interested in the space used, and the space around this performance, as well as the pain that is behind it. One of the other most famous pieces by Export is otherwise known as a boob cinema – people enter the cinema (which is showing her breasts), with their hands, and they are invited to feel the space around, inside the cinema.

Psychology is also a large part behind Gushs’ work and she is intrigued in the psychology behind natures’ process. A significant part of this is culture and the development of the ego, which is quoted by Freud. Therefore, the body, or the woman, becomes an element in the social structure. There is also a technological production behind this.

Talking about myths and overcoming these is another part of Gushs’ work. It is art and anything non-conceived is not art. However, it is always conceptual no matter what (or what did not) happen. For Gush, the violence has not gone away for both women and artwork. She is therefore interested in knowing the mediation that come into play and how the myths shape the society.

This quickly moves onto the Jewish artist Elfriede Jelinek, who wrote the book Lust. This book deals with a society of people who never admitted to the holocaust, almost as though it never happened. The novel itself is structured around a minimal narrative that grinds you down with the (im)possibility of female sexual desire. Lust has been described as a stance of pornography but from the viewpoint of women. Jelineks’ work is often censored because of the nature of the subject. In sexuality, women are unable to gain their own sovereignty and they are objects for they are looked at but unable to speak. The book talks about in depth sexual fantasies, and I found this uncomfortable when an extract of the text was read to us.

Overall, I was a little confused about the work Gush did herself due to the fact that she talked heavily about these two women artists who have heavily influenced her. I was, however, intrigued by her level of almost obsession, and I am able to relate to that on some level.

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