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neither here nor there

Izabela Brudkiewicz / Monica Ross archive

[My past residencies have] changed the way I was thinking about what motherhood is or could be… All the preparation and behind the scenes […] highlighted the competing demands I believe every mother works through by making the decision to carry on working. Since I made the final decision, despite my love for my children and family I have become more creative. I cannot mentally survive without making art. It is better for my state of mind and the same for the state of my family. 

Izabela Brudkiewicz, interviewed by Seaside Road Magazine

and we said

what does it mean?

and how do we bring up our children?

and make art

and earn a living

and make art about this experience

Monica Ross, history or not

Performance artist Izabela Brudkiewicz places herself in uncomfortable situations that test the limits of her mental and physical resilience. She is fascinated by the commonplace microevents through which we maintain and measure out our daily lives. In her performances, these many unremarked upon repetitions become tasks of Sisyphean magnitude. Refuting the argument that a woman cannot be fully committed as both artist and mother (1), Brudkiewicz, since the birth of her first child, has made the responsibilities and demands of parenthood part of the material of her practice. 

At DODO’s invitation, Brudkiewicz has prepared the exhibition neither here nor there as a response to the work of the pioneering feminist artist Monica Ross (1950-2013), whose archive, until recently, was held in storage in a room on Phoenix’s south stairwell. Ross was prominently involved in The Women’s Postal Art Event (1975-1979) which amassed a body of collectively and collaboratively produced work dealing with issues of race, sex, class, politics, domesticity, child rearing etc.. Looking back 20 years later, Ross noted that many of the issues which had been addressed during the postal art event, as well as in her subsequent practice, had yet to be consigned to history. This is no less the case now.

Brudkiewicz’s neither here nor there brings together a number of pieces in which the artist has reappropriated canonical works of the 20th century avant garde, reexamining these through the dynamic of the mother/child relationship. Monica Ross’ performative text history or not is also revoiced specifically for this exhibition, taking up Ross’ strategy of recontextualisation across time and remaining sensitive to her understanding of history as a reflexive tool.

In 2014, on completing her BA at the University of Brighton (Hastings), Isabela Brudkiewicz was shortlisted for the Platform Graduate Award. This years’ Platform exhibition is currently on display in Phoenix’s main gallery. In 2020, the University granted Brudkiewicz her Masters degree in Fine Art. She has exhibited internationally in group shows in France, the Netherlands and the United States. Domestically, Brudkiewicz has maintained a close association with Project 78 in St Leonards, conducting performance residencies there each year between 2014 and 2018.

Gallery DODO and Izabela Brudkiewicz would like to thank Bernard G Mills for his kind permission to work with the Monica Ross archive.

  1. Tracey Emin: There are good artists that have children. They are called men, The Independent, 3 October 2014. Marina Abramović says having children would have been ‘a disaster for my work’, The Guardian, 26 July 2016.

Monica Ross archive

Gallery DODO

Phoenix Art Space

10 – 14 Waterloo Place