Alannah Louët – Emanations
05.02.2020 2pm - 08.02.2020 7pm
Between February 5th and 8th 2020, SomoS presents Irish visual artist Alannah Louët’s solo exhibition: Emanations, displaying performative video, installation, and expanded photography. With Emanations, Louët initiates creative discourse involving feminism, occultism, progress and history, bridging the past and the present.
Using topics such as Home Economics classes and Victorian Spiritualism as a starting point for creative reflections on gender roles, domesticity, female agency, physicality and its taboos, Louët invites the audience to follow her inventive, multilayered narratives.
The artist views the spiritual medium as “feminism’s mystical foremothers,” disrupting accepted female expression and professional limitations at an important moment in time. The Spiritualist movement came about at the same time as that of the Suffragettes, with empowered women transcending barriers of gender, class and race, furthering religious democratization and a distrust of clerical authority, and offering non-institutional direct connection with the divine.
The Victorian vogue for seances put great focus on emanations of “ectoplasm,” a fluid substance or spiritual energy emanating out of a spiritualist mediums body, seen as proof of their ability to contact the dead. A whole industry of photographic darkroom creativity was sparked by the need for documentation and memorabilia of the spiritual events.
Louët attaches her work to this psychic photography tradition, as she uses the liquid emulsion process to make her photographic images appear magically on household items such as historic doilies, similar to the way ghostly images sometimes burned their way into ectoplasmic material during a seance, as she creates analogies to persistent taboos towards the female body and its biological emanations.
One group of presented antique doilies features photographic imagery of a collection of kitchen tools that may have been selected for their potential as tools of resistance and violence. Another group has photographs of hands pointing elegantly towards a centerpiece featuring a photograph of the face of one of Louët’s performers, emanating crochet shreds from her mouth.
The first performative video on display, titled Ectoplasm on the Kitchen Floor is predominantly inspired by the movements involved during transfiguration and the projection of ectoplasm during seances. Filmed jerkily in a faux-historic B&W style, the performative video shows three women dressed in repurposed vintage crochet doilies, while also unapologetically leaking the doilies from their vagina, ears, nose, and mouth.
In a second performative video titled Construction of a Pie, the portrayal of domestic work gradually goes from celebratory to wrathful and aggressive. The artist subverts gender roles within the sphere of domesticity, using stereotypically masculine tools such as a hammer, saw, and a wrench in absurdist fashion.
The exhibition is accompanied by a sound installation for which Louët recorded noises, voices and used a synthesizer, creating a soundscape evocative of the show’s themes: sounds of women howling, from the inside of a womb, and of the female medium as she experiences “transfiguration,” becoming possessed by male spirits, allowing them to act and speak in manners normally forbidden.
In addition, on the opening night, the artist presents a participatory installation: Female Feast, depicting the aftermath of an elaborate feast, celebrating women’s work.
Throughout the exhibition Louët suggests an alternative perspective on the historical practices involving the role of women in society. Using a variety of artistic mediums, her exhibition emanates a sense of rebellious acts against domesticity and defined gender roles.
About Alannah Louët:
Alannah Louët is a London-based interdisciplinary artist, originally from Ireland. While Louët primarily works within the medium of photography, the distinct subject matter of each of her projects determine her various techniques, often including installation, performance, film and staged photo events.
She achieved a First Class Honors Degree, BA in Photography at the London College of Communication; University of the Arts, London in 2019. She has extensive photography experience, specializing in analog techniques and B&W darkroom printing, including alternative printing processes such as liquid emulsion.
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SomoS, Kottbusser Damm 95, 1.0G, 10967, Berlin (U8 – Schönleinstraße)