There is no heroism; there is only duty and revolutionary passion, of which one should no more make a virtue than one should make one of love.
We never talked about men or clothes.It was always Marx, Lenin and revolution—real girls’ talk.
I am an artist and writer working
in London and France. Reader in Fine
Art at Sheffield Hallam University,
I am also a Research Associate of the Centre for Freudian Analysis
and Research, London. I have exhibited widely
in Europe and North America. Publications include A
Case of Hysteria,
Book Works, London, 1999. Filigrane Editions, France, published a small
book on my work Le bonheur des femmes, a work that began
in the perfume departments of the grands magasins of Paris, where
I retreated after walking the streets in pursuit of Marx and
Freud, in the shadow of Lacan, and this is still a work that haunts me. My practice is one of stupid refinement,
trapped in archives, libraries, the arcades, and the intersection of
public political action and private subjectivity.
I am following Sigmund Freud on holiday, and I have dreamt of Rome, been melancholy in Trieste, and had a disturbance of memory in Athens, which can be traced in Freud on Holiday. Volume I. Freud Dreams of Rome (information as material 2006) and Freud on Holiday. Volume II. A Disturbance of Memory (information as material, York, with CUBEARTEDITIONS, Athens, 2007). I have forgotten my shoes on the steps of the Freud Museum, London, and I thought of witty and amusing remarks too late on the stairs of the Freud Museum, Vienna, and these events are recounted in L'esprit d'escalier and An Agent of the Estate
(information as material, 2007 and 2008).Forbes Morlock and I worked on Freud and the Gift of Flowers in 2009 (information as material, once again). The small book Afterwards, although published by Warwick Arts Centre (2009) may be considered to be part of the same series. I h started a new series of modest booklets in which I recount railway-related scenes and incidents in the works of Freud, under the title Reisen, but have only produced two to date. A third holiday book,entitled The Forgetting of a Proper Name, in which neither Freud nor I quite manage to get away from it all, was published by CUBEARTEDITIONS and information as material in 2012. Volume IV, part I, A Cavernous Defile, was published by CUBEARTEDITIONS in 2013, and therein are a number of walks, an excursion in the mountains, mushrooms, and two Lucias, alive and dead. This book was translated into Italian by Silvia Bre in 2016, and published as Freud in vacanza by the Museo storico del Trentino. These books are the subject of a diverting essay by Elizabeth Legge in The Art Journal, June 2015, entitled 'Not getting there is half the fun: Holidays with Freud'.
I was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London, where I was happily translating the Freudian canon, with particular attention to typefaces and the three essays on sexuality, from 2007 to 2011. In early 2008 I exhibited at Sleeper, Edinburgh, for which I worked hard on my embroidery and my worst traits,and at Feriancova Contemporary/ Bastart, Bratislava, where I took Rousseau to task on natural education.In November of the same year I exhibited a new series of works at CHELSEA Space, which insisted on a relation between fashion and revolutionary moments in the history of France.There are more works in this series, some of which were shown in Pont-Aven in October/November 2009, including a stuffed vixen holding the PUF edition of Marx's Capital in her jaws. I had solo shows at Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, Düsseldorf (2009), AMT_Project, Bratislava (2010), DomoBaal, London (2011, 2013), and the Ideas Store, London (2011–12), in which I exhibited works that drew on my collections. FRAC Bretagne acquired several works for its collection, as did Penguin Books, God bless them. I curated an exhibition for the Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, entitled 'Afterwards' in 2009 – a book of the same name accompanies it.
I was working on some rather amateur water colours, copying old postcards from memory, which gave me great pleasure, despite their talentless inadequacy, but these have come to an end. I re-photographed the smoke of steam trains, the flat, limpid waters of mountain lakes, and the snow on Alpine peaks (some of these were shown at Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer in 2009, some at DOMOBAAL and at at AMT_Project in 2011). Somewhat to my surprise, these turned into three very short films, which were screened in New York and St Petersburg in autumn 2011. Painstakingly I sketched women modelling lingerie (and copied quite beautifully their textual descriptions), while thinking of nothing. I was painting women's faces, but have had enough of this (some were shown at AMT_Project and some in my exhibition at DOMOBAAL in 2011), so am back to lingerie, silk, and perversion (same old, same old). With a sanguine Conté pencil on papier de soie I drew the passionate descriptions of silk given to Dr Clérambault by his kleptomaniac patients, each pencil breaking after a few words.
I paid my son an enormous amount of money to fill old school exercises books with handwritten lines (as though it were a cruel punishment), which are the indexical references to mother/son relations in Freud's works, and these were exhibited at the Freud Museum in 'Les paris sont ouverts' in the summer of 2011. The work is entitled Mon Fils, after the son who feels he has been exploited.
In 2011 I
noted the weather of Freud's holidays, the meals (good and bad) he ate while
on holiday, and the train times of his journeys – the
two former are now appendices in the series Freud on
the last is the second book in the Reisen series.In 2013 I added
two new appendices to the series Freud on Holiday – Freud's Hotels and Freud's Shopping (also exquisitely designed by James Brook), and in 2017, Freud's Views.
In 2012 and part of 2013 I eliminated horizons on old postcards of various sea views, having also spoilt many postcards of Rome in my attempt to turn them into negatives in the work The unconscious is a city. Sometimes I draw bridles, bits, stirrups, saddles, and dressage movements, while thinking of 'Little Hans'. I continue to rewrite Zola's novel Nana, from a number of positions, most recently as descriptions as though by Nana (I call this work Nana. Ghostwriter; in French, it is Nana. Négre), according to furniture and soft furnishings, according to odour, and as a small booklet observing/describing, from memory, Nana's dance, danced by Anna Karina, in the film Vivre sa vie, by Jean-Luc Godard. Some of these may be read in Crux Desperationes, edited by Riccardo Boglione, a journal of conceptual writing also to be found on Ubuweb. They are now collected in a single volume entitled Reading Nana(MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE 2017).
In 2012 I had a solo exhibition at Galerie des petits carreaux, Paris, for which I assembled a rather odious display of feminity(for some people, at least, though others may feel quite differently, as did Bernard Géniès, writing in the Nouvel Observateur, in a review in which he was kind enough to assign me two stars). In 2013 I embellished a large number of rather grubby vintage collars of crochet, lace, cotton, with etiquettes declaring that 'je suis une petite charmeuse' (and I am, sometimes), and associated these with some adorable stuffed squirrels. These were on exhibition in 'Ulysses, l'autre mer' at the Musée de la Compagnie des Indes in Lorient, acting as sirens as much as colonial pillagers.
In January 2013 I had a small solo exhibition at DOMOBAAL, London, entitled Reproductions II, which echoed a previous show there. It was accompanied by two lovely essays by Steve Pile and Jan Campbell, available as a small publication, and on the closing day, Sarah Sparkes hosted a séance, with the presence of Birgitta Hosea, Peter Suchin, and Forbes Morlock (who kindly stepped in to channel Sarah Wood at the last minute). The gallery launched a new subscription series, with the gift of the small yet elegant booklet Femme du monde/Women of the World for early subscribers.In November 2013 I had a solo show at Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, entitled Folles de leur corps, after a footnote in Marx's Capital, which became rather more than a footnote in 2014 at CGP, London, as Folles de leur corps / Crazy about their bodies.
This body of work developed into The Natural Forms (Natürliche Formen), as three exhibitions to date in Cottbus, Berlin, and Leipzig, in various formations, tableaux vivants or morts, in 2015 to 2016. I am currently working towards an exhibition for l'Espace d'art Contemporain HEC in Jouy-en-Josas in January 2018, entitled Entreprise de séduction. I recentlycurated an exhibition in collaboration with FRAC Bretagne, Armel Beaufils: Le Regard des femmes , with forty artists, introduced by my solo exhibition Le Modèle in the context of Festivart, St-Briac soem months earlier, curated by FRAC de Bretagne. My book A Lover's Discourse/Un discours amoureux was selected for the Bob Calle Prix du livre d’artiste, which was cheering, even though (astonishingly) I did not win it.
I publish under the imprint MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE and books may be seen on the publications page here, including ON VIOLENCE, edited by Rebecca Jagoe & Sharon Kivland, Vanessa Place & Naomi Toth, After Vanessa Place. Recent books include Sean Ashton, Living in a Land, Buster V. Dachy, The Crumpled Envelope, Claire Potter, Round that way, Sarah Wood, Civilisation & Its Malcontents, Sharon Kivland, Freud's Views, Freud on Holiday Appendix V, Riccardo Boglione, It is Foul Weather in Us All (The Tempest), Paul Buck, Library. A Suitable Case for Treatment , Kreider & O'Leary, Field Poetics, Aude Anquetil, A CASA MIA, Michael Hampton, Between Walter Benjamin's Paris and Kenneth Goldsmith's New York; and forthcoming, Rona Lorimer, Liver, Livret, Liver, Penny McCarhty, La Biblioteca de Babel , and Paul Clinton, Other Hunting.
Do see also the website of Documents d'Artistes Bretagne, which has a very nice dossier on my work in English and French, soon to be made up to date.
There is an interview in NOUVELLES de l'ESTAMPE, Revue du Comitié national de la gravure française, Centre National du Livre, Paris, 2015: Sharon Kivland, ‘Le temps logiques’, by Véronique Gorzccynski
LA BEAUTÉ RÉVÉLÉE
Château de Kerjean, Saint-Vougay, Finisterre, France
14 April to 4 November 2018
A work commissioned for the Château de Kerjean, as part of their programme for 2018, in collaboration with Le Passerelle, Brest: Bel, belle, belles. La beauté à la Renaissance Responding to the idea of a une nouvelle figure féminine, each work is a voluminous skirt, after the style of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which is free-standing, emptied of a body that supports it, while nonetheless suggesting its presence. Each skirt is made of a beautiful silk velvet, in a rich colour. The form is based on the skirts of the Renaissance and the Baroque, noted for their diversity of colour. The skirt is supported by an invisible structure, a hooped crinoline or vertugadin (described by Madame de Motteville as a ‘round and monstrous machine’; splints of wood were used to compress the waist, and circles of wood (or iron or whalebone )were sewn inside the skirt to give ‘l’espoitrinement des dames’ ; above all, writes Montaigne, ‘it was necessary to astonish the world by a slender waist’). From the waist of the skirt, a long ribbon, in a contrasting colour, appears to fly up high into the air, carried in the beak of a small stuffed bird. The other end of the ribbon trails to the floor, where it becomes the bookmark of a book carried in the jaws of a stuffed fox, emerging from under the skirt. The books are leather-bound, closed, gold-embossed with the work's title, and the colour echoes and contrasts with the colour of the velvet skirt and its underskirt. The books, like the birds and the foxes, are animal or were once animal, in the sense of being skins or being covered by a skin, both natural and unnatural. Like the figures, they are empty, though the insertion of the bookmark ribbon might imply there has been some act of reading (or writing – as no title is evident, each book might be a journal intime, both private and public).
The Fabric of Felicity
Garage Museum of Contemporay Art, Moscow
Curated by Valentin Diakonov and Iaroslav Volovod, et al.
Taking its title from a passage in pragmatist philosopher Jeremy Bentham's An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, The Fabric of Felicity presents artists who work with clothes and textiles outside the context of fashion.Working with clothes as a medium or metaphor beyond fashion means to position the basic human practice of symbolic and protective concealment of the body in relationship to different powers that shape human behaviors, labor systems, and garment-related beliefs. The Fabric of Felicity questions what happens to the mechanisms of seduction and desire that surround clothing when fashion as a variety of consumerist drive is out of the picture, mixing recent and historical works. The historical part of the show deals with the evolution of work clothes, starting with the dress codes and uniforms of Russia’s Productivist clothing of the early post-revolutionary period, and presents an overview of real and utopian garments designed for specific jobs. An installation by Sharon Kivland examines the sartorial strategies of the French Revolution, the first European government in modern times to establish an egalitarian politics of dress.
A recent book and its Supplement:
READING NANA. An experimental novel
140 mm x 205 mm, 104 pages, perfect-bound
Emile Zola's novel Nana is re-read and re-written,ghost-written, condensed according to soft furnishings, lighting effects (including metaphor), other women, death and dying, cats, anti-semitism, money, smell, and many other categories.
Emptiness & Silence. A Supplement to Reading Nana, 2017
ISBN 978-1-910055-32-8 12 pages
140 mm x 205 mm
Format: softback, sewn
The instances and insistences of emptiness, silence, nothingness, absence, mutism, loss, deafness ...
FREUD’S VIEWS, Freud on Holiday Appendix V
230 mm x 145 mm, softback, sewn
Almost every year Sigmund Freud went on holiday, often accompanied by his brother Alexander, an expert on railway transport, timetables, and travel tariffs. Freud made a distinction between the holidays he spent with his family during the month of August, usually in the Alps, and those voyages he took later, most often in September, with complicated itineraries. Freud prepared carefully for his trips, attentively consulting tourist guides and other travel literature—especially those referring to sites of classical antiquity—such as the famous Baedeker, of course. The fifty-six letters and hundred and eighty-nine postcards of his travel correspondence with his family and reveal his enjoyment of these holidays. From the hotel Grand Savoia in Rapallo, he writes to Alexander that he is simply drowning in a life of ease. In 1936, in an open letter to Romain Rolland on the occasion of Rolland’s seventieth birthday, Freud ends thus: ‘I myself have grown old and stand in need of forbearance and can travel no more’. Herein Freud’s views, as both prospects and opinions. '3 September, Ravenna. Ravenna is an awful hole.'
Some recent projects that are dear to me:
ENTREPRISE DE SÉDUCTION
Espace d'art contemporain HEC, Jouy-en-Josas
Vernissage 11 January 2018 to 27 April 2018
This is an exhibition in five parts, each corresponding to a room in the exhibition space. The work developed from research on the Manufacture Oberkampf in the archives of the Musée de la Toile de Jouy, and the exhibition will be followed by a publication in 2018. The period of activity of the Manufacture Oberkampf spans early industrial development in pre-revolutionary France to its closure in 1843; the end of the empire marks the decline of the enterprise. The Manufacture may be noted for the ‘benevolent’ factory conditions, the pastoral and political images of the printed cloth it produced, and its somewhat concealed relation to the colonial enterprise. Oberkampf’s factory displayed the conditions of production of the transition to what E. P. Thompson calls ‘industrial capitalism’, not only in the changes in techniques of manufacture that demand greater synchronisation of labour and increasing exactitude in time-routines, but also in how these changes are lived through. A ‘factory system’ and a ‘domestic system’ overlap.
The works address the complex relations between desire and consumption under capitalism, reconceptualising as the capture and remoulding of desire. Two figures set the boundaries: Rousseau and Robespierre, both present as corpses in some form: the tomb of the former, as an etching derived from a toile de Jouy, and the latter as the cadaver of a headless mannequin. The works are conceived as objects with the form of visual literacy. They have material agency. They are seen. They are read. The exhibition includes antiques, trifles, ribbons, silk and lace, déshabillés. It is incroyable and merveilleux.
L’exposition est composée de cinq parties qui, chacune, correspondent à une salle de l’espace de la galerie. Le travail a été mené à partir d’une recherche sur la Manufacture Oberkampf dans les archives du Musée de la Toile de Jouy. Il donnera lieu en 2018 à une publication. La Manufacture Oberkampf a été active du début du développement industriel dans la France prérévolutionnaire à sa fermeture en 1843 ; la fin de l’Empire marque le déclin de l’entreprise. Les « bonnes » conditions de travail, les images pastorales et politiques du tissu imprimé qu’elle produit et les liens quelque peu voilés avec l’entreprise coloniale constituent autant d’éléments notables de la Manufacture. L’usine d’Oberkampf exposait les conditions de production communes à la période de transition vers ce que E. P. Thompson nomme le « capitalisme industriel » : non seulement les transformations des techniques de manufacture qui exigent une plus grande synchronisation du labeur et une précision accrue de l’organisation du temps, mais aussi la manière dont ces changements sont vécus. Un « système de l’usine » et un « système domestique » se chevauchent.
Les œuvres traitent des rapports complexes entre désir et consommation en temps de capitalisme, re-conceptualisées comme la capture et la reconfiguration du désir. Deux figures tutélaires, Rousseau et Robespierre, fixent les limites de l’exposition, tous les deux d’une certaine manière incarnés, le premier par sa tombe figurant sur une gravure d’après une toile de Jouy; et par le cadavre d’un mannequin sans tête pour le second. Les œuvres sont conçues comme des objets détenteurs d’une littérarité visuelle. Elles possèdent une force matérielle. Elles sont vues. Elles sont lues. Antiquités, bagatelles, rubans, soie et dentelle, déshabillés…, l’exposition est « incroyable » et « merveilleuse ».
ARMEL BEAUFILS, LE REGARD DES FEMMES
1 juillet-3 septembre 2017
Presbytère, St-Briac-sur-Mer Dans le cadre du Festival d’art, Saint-Briac-sur-Mer a souhaité mettre en valeur un fonds exceptionnel d’œuvres d’Armel Beaufils encore méconnu et lier les deux volets du 22e Festival d’art, patrimoine et art contemporain.Pour mettre à jour l’œuvre d’Armel Beaufils, Sharon Kivland, qui est artiste, commissaire d’exposition et universitaire, imagine de solliciter des femmes, des artistes d’aujourd’hui, tout d’abord pour regarder une sculpture, figure de femme ou de jeune fille, puis en proposer une lecture, une œuvre, un commentaire…
Artistes : Yuna Amand, Isabelle Arthuis, Félicia Atkinson, Léa Bénétou, Cécile Benoiton, Chantal Blanchy, Laura Brunellière, Anne-Marie Creamer, Béatrice Dacher,Florence Doléac, Carole Douillard, Christelle Familiari, Rachel Garfield, Bernadette Genée, Lena Goarnisson, Anabelle Hulaut, Dominique Hurth, Bettina Hutschek, Rebecca Jagoe, Sharon Kivland, Angélique Lecaille, Laurence De Leersnyder, Jeannie Lucas, Véfa Lucas, Ariane Michel, Hélène Mugot, Michelle Naismith, Georgia Nelson, Aurélie Noury, Bharti Parmar, Monik Rabasté, Catherine Rannou, Linda Stupart, Eva Taulois, Anaïs Touchot, Sylvie Ungauer, Emmanuelle Waeckerlé, Julie Westerman, Charlie Youle, Katharina Zimmerhackl
DECORATIVE DORMITORIES FOR DREAM WORKERS
xero, kline & coma, 258 Hackney Road, London E2
House of Hysteria presents works of Ami Clarke, Annabel Frearson, Dale Holmes, Michael Iveson, Tina Jenkins (HOH’s resident Hysteria), Sharon Kivland, Mark Nader (HOH’s glue and 'Of'), Mer Maggie Roberts and Nicola Woodham
Sharon Kivland’s vinyl LP To Dream by the Book will be playing throughout the exhibition on a vintage Marconiphone. A hundred readers recorded the stuff of dreams – those with a spatial quality (though perhaps this is true of the structure of all dreams) from Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. Freud points out, comparing dream-content (what is represented) with dream-thought (which instigates the dream, turning the text of the unconscious into a play), that content and its account is ‘brief, meagre, and laconic’ in relation to the complexity and richness of the dream-thought. The dramatisation of the dream is reported, a second edition of an earlier text, but the dream is something new, in which an old wish makes its return.
A radio broadcast by psychoanalyst and poet Ulf Karl Olov Nilsson about Freud on Holiday: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/775630?programid=503
THE NATURAL FORMS. PART III. THE TRACTS. READERS AND LISEUSES. MADEMOISELLE LA MARCHANDISE. & OTHER WORKS
27.04.16 to 2.05.16, HGB, Leipzig Academy of Arts , Germany
The Natural Forms. Part II. The Readers. The Foxes. The Tracts. Some Coquetteries
11.12.2015 to 30.01.2016
Galerie Nord / Kunstverein Tiergarten, Turmstrasse 75, 10551 Berlin
With an opening event: itinerant interlude #1867, Anna Clementi
Natürliche Formen – Von Frauen,Füchsen und Lesern
Ausstellung: 03.10.– 15.11.2015
Das dkw. Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus wird als Teil
der Brandenburgischen Kulturstiftung Cottbus durch das
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur des Landes
Brandenburg und die Stadt Cottbus gefördert.
dkw. Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus
Uferstraße / Am Amtsteich 15
www.museum-dkw.de / email@example.com
Öffnungszeiten: Di—So 10—18 Uhr
Some publications (see PUBLICATION and MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE for more information):
FOOTNOTES TO CAPITAL. VOLUMES I to VI
A series that will run to thirty-three volumes, one for each chapter of Capital, as I continue to reproduce the footnotes therein. Each book has an attractive dust-jacket in Financial Times pink, and contains a tipped-in photograph of nicely-shod women's feet as a frontispiece. Each is printed in an edition of 30, signed and numbered, 130 x 197 mm, one tipped-in duo-tone photographic plate, from 16 to 48 pages.
Chapter 5: Contradictions in the General Formula, 2016
Chapter 6: The Sale and Purchase of Labour Power, 2016
Lalangue is a report of language without words, where words are replaced by images, and mouths are blocked. To be a body is to be woven from language. The body of the speaking being is imprisoned and determined by the signifiers of maternal speech.
FOLLES DE LEUR CORPS /CRAZY ABOUT THEIR BODIES
A 96-page book, designed by James Brook and published by CGP London in association with Ma Bibliothèque, with short texts and essays written in in response to Kivland's textual descriptions of works: PASCAL BEAUSSE, ALISON J. CARR, VINCENT DACHY, RACHEL GARFIELD, CHRIS GIBSON, CATHERINE GRANT, JOHAN F. HARTLE, RALF F. HARTMANN, FRANCIS HASELDEN, JAMES HELLINGS, JEAN-MARC HUITOREL, JASPAR JOSEPH-LESTER, ESTHER LESLIE, JULIET FLOWER MacCANNELL, FORBES MORLOCK, DANY NOBUS, SANJA PEROVIC, JOHN W. P. PHILLIPS, STEVE PILE, STEFAN SZCZELKUN, JOSHUA SIMON, LINDA STUPART, JOHN TIMBERLAKE, SARAH WOOD
The manner of masculine dress, according to the style and taste of the era, of its time and place, reflects society and imposes codes of comportment. It is, as Baudelaire argues, as much a matter of gesture and manners and looks (how the costume is carried, shall we say) as that of mere dress design. Messieurs, it must be taken seriously, considered with attention and attention to detail, for clothes make the man and these men are masters.
An illustrated article in MAN, the fourth issue of E.R.O.S.
FREUD ON HOLIDAY. Volume IV, A Cavernous Defile. Part I
Cube Art Editions, Athens, December 2013
With Lucia Farinati, and a foreword by Forbes Morlock
Designed by Christos Lialios
Softback, perfect-bound, with dust jacket
144 pages, black and white illustrations and photographs
NOW ALSO IN ITALIAN TRANSLATION, 2016
ALL BOOKS MAY BE ORDERED FROM SK/PUBLICATIONS, ANAGRAM BOOKS (BERLIN & LONDON), OR THE PUBLISHER ON REQUEST