“TUMBLED FRAME I - IV” 1983 - 85


ARTIST'S NOTES My choice here was to emphasise the positive sides and not to exaggerate the level of the negative sides in organising this exhibition. This was not in order to curry favour with the other organisers or to pretend that this exhibition is any better than it is. It is because of the history of women and women's criticism of themselves in public and the effect that has on people who are not feminists. So, if I sit here going through all this bitchy arguing and fighting and jealousy and rivalry and competition all this that goes on in every group exhibition I have ever been in - then you would walk out of this room, thinking this is yet another women's show - you would not remember that this happens in all group exhibitions. You would label it yet again as a reinforcement of the stereotyping of women. That is why I am here determined to go on saying, that it's everyone's in this room, and everyone's, who has been to this exhibition, responsibility to make a future for women artists.

That means creating exhibitions - whatever the difficulties, whatever the costs and with whatever situations are possible - with whatever beliefs you have (once you are informed about the issues). if you hold them sincerely, if you have questioned them deeply, and if you believe in them. - and not to keep concentrating on the fact that in every single situation that mankind has undertaken (and that is supposed to include women), because we are not gods, has been imperfect. I don't believe that there is any 'right' way of doing any of what we are trying to do. I think that there are as many ways as there are women, - and that there are as many systems. And the trouble is that we have an overwhelmingly strong system based on male values. To begin to change that system, some women have had to move into that system and adopt some of its values in terms of the nature of the space we are now exhibiting in. At least here we have ideas based on the primacy of female values, understood and held in the works. The works may be showing within a building and within an organisation that has been unsympathetic, but nevertheless this is an achievement. To have small exhibitions where women have more contact, to have enormous exhibitions, where women have total control - fantastic. I hope, within my lifetime we'll see all these things. I hope within my life-time we'll see women's work taken as seriously and judged as harshly as men's - but with a true understanding of women's values by the art world.

This is just one event, which has taken many women a lot of effort and a lot of time to organise. For myself, taking part in it has been another reassurance, that I am in the right place, that I am making art, doing an occupation that women for hundreds of years have done successfully. For me one of the greatest tragedies among women is, that we are all too hungry for change and so every achievement of every group of women meets criticism from other women because it is not perfect. Now this exhibition is a great achievement, it is a great step forward, it's not perfect - thank God. Women have been conditioned for far too long that we should be perfect, that we should be Madonnas. This is not a reality. We will make mistakes - constantly - that is our right. as human beings, that is one sort of freedom!
Rose Garrard, 'Kunst mit Eigen-Sinn' conference, Vienna, 1985

I 'Rose Garrard' ICA London
II 'Kunst mit Eigen-Sinn' Museum of the 20th Century Vienna
III 'Dadarama' Riverside Studios London
IV 'Living Art' Guinness Hop Store Dublin

Multi-media installation with 30 plaster madonnas, 30 cast frames, 3 replicas of the 'Concours' oil painting, continuous play video with bird soundtrack.