Be the Hammer


BE THE HAMMER OR THE ANVIL, GENERATORprojects, 13 November – 5 December, was an all female group show responding to the notion of fetishism and the female. Taking its title from Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch’s novella Venus in Furs the show aims to explore each artist’s individual approach to fetishism and materiality through newly commissioned bodies of work by RACHEL ADAMS, SÒLVEIG EINARSDOTTIR, MAIRI LAFFERTY and ROSE RUANE with writer and researcher Catriona Fay McAra.



Black and white super8 mm film digitally transferred
without sound

The film shows the word amulet ABRACADABRA meaning ‘I will create what I speak’ being tattooed onto the subject.  The ‘creation’ in this respect is the artwork but the permanence of the tattoo and it’s history as a means of branding, leads us to think of the nature and balance of the relationship between subject and tattooist, between artist and muse, and of the non-permenace of the work in the space. The way the film is edited obsessively repeated, reads as an attempt to relive the moment, the framing reminiscent of something amatiuer with the unease of home-made porn. A sentimental expression to freeze a moment before it continues to change.
Dr. Catriona McAra, Research Assistant in Cultural Theory in the School of Art, Design and Architecture
at the University of Huddersfield

Mairi Lafferty’s video and photography involve a self-conscious fetishization of outmoded mediums and materials. Super 8, grainy and scored surfaces evoke a Benjaminian aura (1936) of the obsolete and the retroactive. The phallic projection of the camera is turned inward and, in doing so, subjectivized. An uncanny hall of mirrors, reflecting a fourth-dimensional infinity, appears between her legs as the artist lays herself bare. She is simultaneously over-exposed, severed, disembodied, embarrassed, revealed and concealed. The void plays on the Freudian role of femininity and is positioned just so. The camera lens is supplanted by the recurrent motif of the black hole or blind spot. Meanwhile her video piece captures her partner under the ink as he acquires a tattoo – a feminine interpretation of the Chris Burden bullet scene. Spelling ABRACADABRA in triangular form, the image becomes a magical amulet which returns to the anthropological fetish. It is a spell, an incantation or prayer conjuring a meeting place for Susan Stewart‟s “antithesis” of the tattoo versus the locket (1993, 127).



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