Marie Shannon, The Rat in the Lounge, 1985, gelatin silver print, 18 1⁄8 × 33 7⁄8".

Marie Shannon

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu

There is nothing unique or original in the idea that our families, and the spaces we share with them, turn us into who we are. And yet contemporary writers from Karl Ove Knausgaard to Maggie Nelson have highlighted that, within this ubiquitous truth, mysteries and revelations can still lurk. The New Zealand artist Marie Shannon has been making similar self-exposures and confessions, with a literary bent, for more than thirty years. Organized by Dunedin Public Art Gallery in New Zealand and subsequently shown in Wellington and Christchurch, the survey “Rooms found only in the home” showed how Shannon, time and again, transformed the nuclear specificities of her life with the late artist Julian Dashper, their son, and the family cat into a kooky, fairy-tale exploration of how we are shaped by “home.”

One of Shannon’s best-known early works, The Rat in the Lounge, 1985, set the show’s domestic

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2019 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.