Heroic Status / Biography

Performance, 2018


Process: the subjects and publishing dates of the 415 books of the section A: (C20 and C21st century artists A-Z) in the Chelsea library were noted. The books were divided by publishing dates: 1947-1984 / 1985-97 / 98-07 / 2007-18, and the information, using purple and green stickers to demonstrate the distribution of the 19% of those artist identifying as women over that period (incl. 5% couples) was translated to the upholstery buttons of four sections of seats in the Chelsea canteen annex.

Performance: this was in the form of a introduction and Key to a reading/meaning of this sticker seat ‘pattern’; listing names and telling a story that reflected the history of courses at Chelsea and the artists who were teaching on them. The distribution of the audience, who discovered that they were physical sitting on the ‘books’ e.g. on the extensive Andre and Arp sections and some ‘heckling’/responses to the mention of forgotten/favourite/unpopular names and un-equal representation in the collection e.g. the number of books on Abramovic, resulted in a lively session.

Produced For

'Refusing to Play', a 'cabaret' event to celebrate International Women's Day, convened be the Feminisms and Subjectivity Research Group.


Chelsea College of Arts, London.


Photography: Fran Cottell and Hamish Pringle

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