A Time of One's Own

Grant, Catherine. 2016. A Time of One's Own. Oxford Art Journal, 39(3), pp. 357-376. ISSN 0142-6540 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article looks at contemporary artworks that utilise re-enactment as scenes of learning to engage with feminism’s histories. Virginia Woolf’s call for ‘a room of one’s own’ is re-imagined for today, when we might have a room, but often not the time to use it. Re-enactment is seen as creating ‘a time of one’s own’, made up out of disparate historical moments which, when brought together, become alive and vital for the present and the future. By using Bertolt Brecht’s concept of the learning-play, the process of rehearsal is foregrounded to conceptualise what is happening when historical material is re-enacted. In the examples explored, this rehearsal is also motivated by an affective charge, a desire to know whilst accepting and celebrating that this knowledge will always be partial. The learning-play was also devised a method for forming new communities, something that is discussed here as occurring across history as well as in the present moment. The artworks discussed are Salomania by Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz (2009), Allyson Mitchell’s Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House (2013), Kajsa Dahlberg’s A Room of One’s Own / A Thousand Libraries (2006) and Faye Green’s NOT TO DISCOU[RAGE] YOU (2013).

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feminism, contemporary art, re-enactment

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Visual Cultures


13 December 2016Published
16 March 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

20 Apr 2016 13:25

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:17

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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