May 23 - June 28 2008
SPECTA would like to present their first solo exhibition by South African artist Frances Goodman. In her work, Frances Goodman focuses on language and how people use words – everyday words, that often seem trivial and ordinary, yet are layered with innuendoes and hidden feelings. The works by Goodman are presented in very different forms, which both support and contradict the words and their content – for example: the toilet graffiti “I am a bad ass motha fucker” is transcribed into bourgeois embroidery.
Goodman plays with words and language, and the potential they have to antagonize, taunt, embarrass and even offend us – to ‘get under our skin’, as it were. Goodman investigates social themes such as violence, relationships, prejudices, paranoias, phobias and self-image – the things that pre-occupy our thoughts every day. Even though the themes prevalent in her works are broadly social in nature, their impact is often deeply personal. The sound installation ”I know what you’re thinking” allows us entry into other people’s innermost thoughts and secrets – we are invited to act as ‘aural voyeurs’ to an often shocking stream of words, thoughts and beliefs. What emerges in these revelations – sometimes scripted, sometimes ad-libbed - of people’s prejudices and pre-judgements is a heady mix of ambivalence, fascination, dislikes, and even desires. ”I know what you’re thinking” offers an opportunity to look inside oneself – or rather, to ‘listen’ to oneself, and to others. As the audience is confronted with the act of judging others, we find ourselves in a position of unexpected power – we may repudiate and argue against these cuttingly casual sentences and monologues, or we may (secretly, silently) agree with the speaker’s comments.
Other works on the exhibition also play with boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private’. In her series ‘Toilet Graffiti Embroideries’, Goodman has embroidered graffiti documented from public toilets around the world. Toilet graffiti, by its nature, is intended to communicate to a broad audience; nevertheless it often contains very private and confessional messages and statements. Goodman transforms these throwaway phrases into delicate and precious silk embroideries – and in doing so makes us take the messages seriously, questioning and insisting on their value.
Finally, Frances Goodman shows new works in the ”Banner series”, which SPECTA has presented before. Here, in overwhelming banners of silk wrapped around wood and sewn with glittering sequins, Goodman plays with text and texture, surface and content, sincerity and irony. The obsessive process of hand-sewing the banners, and the earnestness of the phrases, is seemingly at odds with the ironic and often flippant glitziness of these sequined surfaces.
Frances Goodman (b. 1975, ZA) is educated at University of Witwatersrand Johannesburg, at Goldsmiths College in London and at HISK in Belgium. She was one of three artists at SPECTA’s exhibition Compulsions in spring 2007. Selected exhibitions: 2007 + 2005 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa. David, Gallery in the Round, SA National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown, South Africa 2003 Intimate/Inanimate Moments, The Process Room, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland