Monday, July 31, 2017

Invitation to FREE LOVE HURTS at Mailbox Art Space


Bon Mott - Edward Ounapuu - Caroline Phillips - Jennifer Rooke - Callum Royle - Siying Zhou
2nd August - 2nd September 2017
Opening night
Thursday 3rd August, 6-8pm

Council of People's Commissars in Smolny Palace, Petrograd, circa December 1917. Alexandra Kollontai at centre, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin to her right. Image in the public domain, colour by Rachel Pearce.

Curated by Rachel Pearce and Andrée Ruggeri

This exhibition asks seven contemporary artists to respond to the radical early Soviet feminist activism of Alexandra Kollontai.

A sexual revolutionary, an author and a diplomat, Kollontai served as one of the first women in the Bolshevik government's inner circle after the 1917 Russian Revolution. She fought female oppression and argued that women’s emancipation should extend to their sexuality, as well as their traditional roles in society. Kollontai felt that marriage was an unnatural constraint upon human behaviour, advocating ‘free love’ instead.

Within the parameters of their individual practices, the seven artists in this exhibition explore the somewhat marginalised figure of Kollontai, manifesting in artwork that reflects both their research and interpretations. Archival material is threaded throughout the exhibition, further inviting an investigation of Kollontai’s contributions in a contemporary context. A limited edition zine available on opening night presents curator Rachel Pearce’s personal response to Kollontai.

As many of Alexandra Kollontai's policies were overturned by Stalin in the 1920s, this exhibition stands as a reminder of feminism's troubled path, and its powerfully optimistic future.

Mailbox Art Space
141-143 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Opening hours:
10am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday
10am – 5pm Saturday
11am – 4pm Sunday