An exhibition in the gallery by British visual artist Maria Chevska, which will also serve as the site of the book release for "Vera's Room [the art of maria chevska]," forthcoming from Black Dog Publishing, London in October 2005.
The exhibition and publication "Vera's Room" includes a text by French feminist Hélène Cixous. Maria Chevska's work, drawing on both painting and sculpture, examines a number of interrelated issues, including the implications of language upon the visual world and the narrative dimension of the visual. In the installation on view at Slought Foundation, her interest in collectivity and narrative informs an exploration of displacement and exile and comments on the figure of the stranger in contemporary life. The installation is of varying sizes and components and has been installed according to a series of prescriptive procedures determined by the artist and enacted by the curators. It has both 'real' objects and a number of 'imaginary' sculptures made up of both found and made objects. The objects, simple forms made from cloth or paper rendered solid in kaolin, look familiar and functional; however, they are not quite the same as the articles they resemble. This uncanny and abstract quality is given further tension in the installation due to the intimate setting and a sense of transient domesticity. This in turn suggests the fragile and nomadic existence of a stranger who achieves visibility on account of his or her sheer resourcefulness.
This project identifies the shared concern for displacement and exile in the work of Hélène Cixous and British artist Maria Chevska. Visual documentation of "Vera's Room," Maria Chevska's installation in the galleries, is interspersed throughout "Promised Cities," Hélène Cixous' text exploring the relation of art and literature to cities and their destruction.