Clea Christakos-Gee & Fehn Foss
“One afternoon, after finishing a cup of coffee in her living room, Greta discovered how to unstitch herself. Her clothes, skin, and hair fell from her like the peeled rind of a fruit, and her true body stepped out.”
In Unstitching, two unique bodies of work are brought together to engage in a dialogue with one another: the show’s title is inspired by a short story written by Camilla Grudova. The story’s playful and slightly urgent tone is a magical-realist allegory for the emancipation of true womanhood and uses strong imagery of crafting and sewing machines in relation to gender performance. Similarly, this exhibition examines the performative nature of gender – specifically around the donning of a negligee – and the traditional role that embroidery has as woman’s work and not fine art.
The exhibition includes images from Clea Christakos-Gee’s The Realm of the Negligee series, which explores the performative nature of femininity in regards to the negligee and works with fehn foss’s series Memory Craft, which looks at the impact automated embroidering technology has on the handmade, traditionally female craft of embroidery. Together, they have created a collection of artefacts that challenge the precious nature of the negligee and the unattainable, elevated ideals of femininity by interfering with the garments using an automatic sewing machine. The “glitches” on the negligees caused by the ironic inefficiency of this technology reminds us of the continued relevance of the human and traditionally female hand in craftwork. These collaborative pieces add an element of play and interruption to the societal structures that maintain such an oppressive hold on gender performance, gender roles, and how we perceive objects because of them.