Inadvertently I passed the border of her teeth and swallowed
her agile tongue. It lives inside me now, like a Japanese fish. It
brushes against my heart and my diaphragm as if against the walls
of an aquarium. It stirs silt from the bottom.
She whom I deprived of a voice stares at me with big eyes
and waits for a word.
Yet I do not know which tongue to use when speaking to
her – the stolen one or the one which melts in my mouth from an
excess of heavy goodness.
- Zbigniew Herbert
SWALLOWED HER AGILE TONGUE, brings together three female artists based in Glasgow and London working across sculpture, digital media, painting and drawing. Though lead by very different material, theoretical and political concerns, together their work shows three women who question what femininity constitutes for them, through a sedimentation of gestures, materials, objects and images. In their work we see a working through of the meanings of femininity, sought in social, sexual, psychological and political realms. We see the way that these questions and their answers slip in and out of bodies, beyond the control of the subject and her body, toward patriarchal society’s ever present call for more objectivity (...but why doesn’t she just…). It is a half baked femininity, who’s precarity - always on the brink of collapse - is seen through the eyes of objects, and draws its strength through relation with others. Through these objects we witness a wrestling back of bodies, bodies fragmented and impotent, in the process of being rebuilt and made whole - an intimate process requiring a great deal of vulnerability. As a whole Janula, Main and Miller-Biot’s work builds a fragmentary, shifting and conflicted picture of what it means to be in a body called female; and the joy, the frustration and the sheer mundanity of that experience.