This year London Art Fair features a women only edition as part of Art Projects, Dialogues. Guest curated by Misal Adnan Yildiz who, after seeing the stark gender divide in Kuntstkompass’s annual breakdown of the ‘World’s top 100 artists’, decided to ask galleries to present only female and female identifying artists in this section of the fair. Galeri Nev is showing the conceptual and performance artist Mehtap Baydu, who talked us through her subtly subversive work. She told WIA:
“Every work is connected to the other, each piece gives birth to the next one. It’s not like a new idea coming up, they are referential in one way or another. My main theme is not the material or the medium, but the concept.”
Showing at the Fair is a video of Baydu’s favourite work: the performance Eat Me Meet Me. In the Fluxus tradition of Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic, Baydu wears an edible dress, which is removed by the audience during the performance. There’s an element of the unexpected. Baydu explains,
“I began to eat the dress and someone from the audience asked ‘are you going to be the only one?’ and then the audience came and ate the dress too.”
“Through this performance, through this act of eating, there was a dialogue between the audience and myself. We were speaking to each other as we ate my ‘skin’. My body didn’t matter anymore, the centre of the performance was the dialogue, the connection, all these small conversations.”
It’s my favourite work because it’s temporal. In a way, it can’t be commercialised. It’s eaten and gone.”
Also on show are:
Kryafet, a traditionally designed mans suit made in materials normally associated with women. The flamboyant suit playfully deals of ideas of gender as performative and reverses the masculine and feminine.
Self Portrait: From Her Mother’s Fabric, (pictured) a self portrait sculpted from her mother’s dress, and Long Neck a work referencing the way in which Thai women will lengthen their neck using gold rings which is seen to be a sign of beauty and desirability, but in fact weakens the neck. Here Baydu substitutes the rings for collars of shirts of men she has known.
You can catch Baydu performing another work ‘Silence’ at the Fair today (Thursday 18th January) at 7pm.