And the One Doesn't Stir without the Other

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And the One Doesn't Stir without the Other was an exhibition curated by Ruth Jones and Ursula Burke for the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast. The exhibition ran from 24th July - 31st August 2003. It included work by artists Claude Cahun, Ana Mendieta, Hannah Wilke, Helen Chadwick, Lucy Gunning, Jananne Al-Ani and Sandra Johnston.

And the One Doesn't Stir without the Other', the title of an essay by the French philosopher Luce Irigaray, explores the complexities of mother-daughter relationships in patriarchal societies, but it could also be seen as addressing the need to conceive of the desire of the feminine 'Other'. The exhibition explored the possibilities for a feminine 'becoming' through visual art practices which approach the question of feminine desire and its fulfilment. Luce Irigaray has proposed that western culture is in the service of one phallocentric symbolic order, in which the feminine is positioned as lacking. The work selected was made by artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and is intergenerational. What connects the works are the risks that the artists were prepared to take in order to express feminine desire. Many of the works appear to initially comply with traditional / patriarchal stereotypes of femininity, but through a number of strategies subvert the Law of the Father and explore the potential for an economy of desire which allows positive expression to the feminine. For more infromation about this project visit the website As well as the gallery exhibition, the project encompassed a public seminar (chaired by Prof. Hilary Robinson, speakers: Whitney Chadwick, Marsha Meskimmon and Pauline Cummins) and film screenings in order to contextualise the exhibition in a wider cultural framework. The show and seminar received an overwhelming response, particularly since most of these works have never been exhibited in Ireland before. The project was reviewed in The Guardian, Art Monthly, Source and Circa.

A publication was produced that includes an essay by Ruth Jones as well as essays by Whitney Chadwick, Marsha Meskimmon and Leontia Flynn


image of a woman performing with a chair and charcoal

image of a foot and a hand

painting with a rose and text

10 hour performance by Sandra Johnston titled The Space of a Chair in the Ormeau Baths Gallery. Photo: Ursula Burke

Photograph from the Familiar series by Kate Byrne included in the publication

Painting by Heather Allen included in the publication

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