Women’s labels explored in Brighton art show from Chichester student

Chichester’s Martha Mosse looks at the labels which oppress women in her third-year degree show in performance and visual art (dance) at the University of Brighton.

Martha, who attended Chichester High School for Girls and also Lavant House, presents

Perfection And Its Friends at the University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Brighton, on Wednesday, May 16 at 1.45pm

Lasting two hours, the piece is a performative installation, Martha says - an installation in which a performance happens.

An analysis of the female form striving for perfection, the work is a feminist exploration of the labels slut, spinster, mother and perfect and examines how such labels are used to oppress, define and limit women’s individuality and personality in the 21st century, Martha explains.

Using a series of three interconnected, purpose-built and designed rooms, the piece combines physical materials – such as wood and spandex – with film and live female performance to explore how labels confine women to narrow, often inescapable, roles within society.

“It’s about labels and what effect being labelled has on women in contemporary society, how a woman feels about her own body and how the labels make her feel.”

Martha focuses on her four labels as being four of the most oppressive. For instance, a woman labelled a mother may well find it hard to be allowed to be anything else.

As Martha says, the problem is that the labels may well go unnoticed as just part of day-to-day life; the aim is to make women aware of them and of the effect they are having.

By inviting the audience into the “oppressive, fleshy and tactile reality of feminine self-dissatisfaction”, in a manner that blurs the boundaries of “female corporeality”, Martha said she intends to challenge and confront the audience with “the reality of what it means to be a woman.”

Martha, whose mother is the novelist Kate Mosse, is choreographer and director for the piece which features four live performers.

Free admission. Audience numbers are restricted.