Talk: Marina Warner

24 July 2018

6 July 2018

For her talk, Bodies of Unknowing, writer and cultural historian, Marina Warner, discussed storytelling, and the power and agency of female protagonists within the complex histories of myths, tales and fables.

Fairy tale offers artists in visual media a store of imagery to draw on: grounded chiefly in the body, entering dark forests of unknowing, the language of such stories raises possibilities of extreme risk and harm as their heroines are tested, and we, the works’ audience, are wound into their ordeals. At the close of Ericka Beckmann and Marianna Simnett’s powerful and disturbing double show, Marina Warner looks at the language of fairy tales in relation to the struggles of women artists with prevailing conventions. Paula Rego and Kiki Smith are also invoked as she considers how the adoption of fantasy creates opportunities to be both inside a system and outside it, in the hope of cracking open conventional ethics and aesthetics, and social and political norms.