Critics’ Picks

View of “In Case My Mind is Changing,” 2018.

View of “In Case My Mind is Changing,” 2018.


Josephine Pryde

Simon Lee | London
12 Berkeley Street
November 30, 2018–January 12, 2019

In Josephine Pryde’s exhibition “In Case My Mind Is Changing,” four 3D-printed sculptures resemble icebergs. Titled Time and the Tampon 1–4 (all works 2018), they are opaque, white, and scaled to fit with plenty of space around them, placed atop three thin black mats. It becomes hard to dissociate these mats from yoga after reading “Constable,” a short text contributed by Pryde to Anarchic sexual desires of plain unmarried schoolteachers (2015), in which the artist describes how practicing yoga generates various landscapes in her mind. “I make no effort to summon them as memories,” she writes. “They are, quite vividly, a place.” Later in the text, the action of folding and storing bed linen summons up a former roommate’s suggestion that the artist was wasting her time ironing her sheets. The icebergs morph into compressed piles of laundry with capacity, like a tampon, to expand.

The making public of private upkeeps, both bodily and domestic, runs as a seam through histories of feminist artistic production. Consider “The Desire to Desire,” a 2004 conversation between Pryde and art historian Sabeth Buchmann, in which Pryde’s concentration is broken by the mental image of artist Janine Antoni performing Loving Care, 1993, mopping the floor of Anthony d’Offay gallery with her hair full of black dye. There is no such mess at Simon Lee, where the floor has a glacial gleam. Speaking to the bloodless tradition of marketing “feminine care,” Pryde’s strategies are clean and contained. Hung in the gallery at regular intervals in large landscape-oriented frames, photographs titled Cup and Ring 1–6 depict shallow, prehistoric craters on the surfaces of rocks. Another kind of compression occurs in the use of digital C-prints to depict these early carvings, and in the press release, which asks: “When do you have periods?” The pun distills Pryde’s wit and acuity in tethering spectatorship to reproductive technologies, conjuring not only fertility but also the shaping of artistic periods after ages of ice and stone.