Miriam Austin :

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28 June –

28 July 2018

Gimmel was Miriam Austin’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Based in London, New Zealand-born Austin has a rich multidisciplinary practice that explores the relationship between ritual, myth, ecological fragility, and the politics of the body through sculpture, works on paper, installation, video and performance. This exhibition takes its name from the gimmel ring, a kind of wedding ring used in late medieval and early modern Britain. The ring, made from a single piece of metal, comprised two interlocking bands, which were then separated and worn by each partner prior to marriage. At marriage, the two rings were re-joined and worn by the woman, marking their union and her new status as a married woman.



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This new, partially autobiographical, body of sculpture and installation work takes the gimmel ring as a figurative tool for investigating the psychological, mythological, historical and political dimensions of bodily intimacy and kinship. Drawing on her family’s colonial past in New Zealand, Austin’s work is a complex and ambivalent interrogation of practices and visions of joining and severance; between people, cultures, human and non-human agencies.


Centring on an imagined dialogue with her great, great grandmother – part of an early generation of New Zealand colonisers, who spent her life rearing her family in a tent in the New Zealand bush after the death of her alcoholic husband – Austin’s installation imagines a territory in which culture, materiality and the organic merge as memory-traces across layered generations. Steel tools, informed by Austin’s research into Suzette Haden Elgin’s constructed feminist language, Láadan, as well as other ancient scripts, stand at once as ritual objects poised for use, as trophies from a distant culture and as a threat posed to the fragile, quasi-aquatic bodies they surround. These bodies, inspired by Maori mythology and British folklore, are supported by decidedly Western, biomedical prostheses; poised together either in readiness for, or in resistance to, unbreakable bindings.

Through these figures, held within the symbolic range of the gimmel ring, Austin attempts to address the entanglement of privilege, oppression and representation that already accompanies Western interest in “native” or “folk” religions and cultures. Within this context, the installation confronts the painful inequalities and struggles of cultural debt, of the uncomfortable complicity and risk of socially sanctified intimacy, and the inseparability of growth from constraint and decay.

Installation Views


Miriam Austin & Pepa Ubera in conversation with Lauren Wright

Friday 27 July 2018, 7pm – 8:30pm

Miriam Austin & Pepa Ubera discuss their collaborative work together, +++, with Lauren A Wright, programme director at Siobhan Davies Dance. The discussion will be part of the project’s research & development, and a chance to introduce the work to a wider audience. This event will be on occasion of the closing of Bosse & Baum’s current exhibition, Miriam Austin: Gimmel, which ends on 28 July 2018.

+++ is an ongoing project that centres around a collaboration between artists Pepa Ubera and Miriam Austin. Using sculpture, choreography and video, they create environments and performances that re-imagine the terrain of the gendered body. The project will take the form of a shifting installation and series of performances that are developed in response to the body of sculptural objects. Together, their work creates new feminist landscapes, mapping out possibilities for and images of intimacy, putting forward alternative languages for embodied relationality.

PEPA UBERA is a performer, choreographer and curator, and has been based in London since 2003. From 2015 – 2018 Pepa is one of the Sadlers Wells Summer University artists. She has twice been awarded a Dance Web Scholarship at the Impulstanz Festival in Vienna showing her work in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain. From 2013-2015 she was a core member of TripSpace projects where she organised monthly nights of performance and professional class including the curation of a performance festival in collaboration with the Hayward Gallery. She has been artist in residence at, among others at Micadanses Paris, Charleroi-danses Brussels, K3 Hamburg, TripSpace London, Teatros del Canal in Madrid, Matucana 100 in Santiago de Chile, Sadler’s Wells and Tate Britain in London. She has presented work in the UK, Europe and Chile and performed in venues such as The Place, ICA, Barbican Botanic Gardens, kampnagel in Hamburg and the Hayward Gallery. The last project she curated was her regular night of performance, The Palest Light #6 at the Lilian Baylis studio in Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London where she also presented her last performance in collaboration with Josfiena Camus: Ellipsis Land. In 2017 Ellipsis Land opened their first TATE’s Live Exhibition: Ten Days Six Nights at the Tanks in March and returned to Sadler’s Wells Theatre last November. She also received two commissions to present work at the Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire and Now Gallery in London.

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