Martha Wilson


Preview Friday 30 June at 6:30pm

Curated by Muriel Enjalran

Dans le cadre de son 40e anniversaire, le Frac reçoit le soutien de la Fondation Galeries Lafayette et de Château Bonisson

The Frac is pleased to present the first major solo exhibition in France by Martha Wilson, a pioneering figure and guiding light of feminist engagement through art.

Martha Wilson has been a singular personality in the history of American art since the early 1970s. Along with Hannah Wilke and Eleanor Antin, she was one of the first artists to use her own body to question social representations of the feminine, through her performances, videos and photographs. By altering her physical appearance, she challenges the identity stereotypes of a neoliberal America. Her pioneering work pointed the way to territories later conquered by other contemporary artists like Cindy Sherman and Martha Rosler, or by feminist philosophers like Judith Butler.

In her New York apartment in 1976, she founded Franklin Furnace, an alternative space dedicated to artistic experimentation and the conservation of that avant-garde’s artist books, videos, and performances. And in 1978 she formed the “conceptual punk” group Disband, mixing performance and music, with women artists who did not know how to play any instrument.

She began her performance work through political satires, presenting herself as the First Lady (Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Melania Trump) or as Donald Trump. Her artistic practice maintains an almost intrinsic relationship with language. Her photographic works are always accompanied by texts. She considers this photographic practice, which she supplements with comments, as “a place of intersection between image and text”.

In the spring and summer of 2022, Martha Wilson did a residency at the Cité internationale des arts (as part of the second edition of the Art Explora programme), where she continued a project begun in 1981 among feminist communities, in collaboration with Suzanne Lacy and Susan Hiller. In 2022, she interviewed six women artists in France of different generations, asking them three questions (1. How did you become an artist? 2. What is your relationship with feminism? 3. Did trauma play a role in your construction as an artist?), with a view to comparing their work and their feminist, social and political positions.

This programme will be featured as part of the Frac’s 40th anniversary, and the 10th anniversary of the Frac’s building with its participation in the Biennale de la Joliette.