Normal Work

August 24 - October 18, 2013

Opening reception Saturday, August 24, 6 - 8 pm

Fort Worth Contemporary Arts presents Normal Work by the German artist team of Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz. The film and photographs that comprise the exhibition blend historical fact with a contemporary reenactment to challenge preconceptions about expected male and female roles, class, labor, and social hierarchies.

Hannah Cullwick was a maidservant in Victorian England who produced a series of staged photographs with her employer and lover, Arthur Munby, a man from the bourgeois class. The photographs show Cullwick adopting various personas as a servant, a dirty maid, a young man, a slave, or a bourgeois lady in transgressions of class and gender boundaries described by Boudry/Lorenz as “class drag” or “ethnic drag.” A selection of these historical documents, photographs taken between 1855 – 1902, are reproduced and exhibited alongside Boudry/Lorenz’s 13-minute film Normal Work. In the film, artist and performer Werner Hirsch portrays Hannah Cullwick as she exhibits her strength, her muscles, and her big, dirty hands: embodiments of her gender that were directly connected with her working practices and of which she was very proud.

Boudry/Lorenz have exhibited in numerous international exhibitions since 2004 and Normal Work at FWCA is the pair’s first show in Texas. Their work oftentimes combines little-known historical documents with present-day queer representations of gender and sexuality in order to “show embodiments which are not only able to cross different times, but also to draw relations between these different times, thus revealing possibilities for a queer futurity.”

Fort Worth Contemporary Arts is located at 2900 W. Berry Street at the corner of W. Berry and Greene. Hours are 12 – 5 pm, Wednesday – Saturday.

HOURS: Wednesday - Saturday, 12 to 5 pm