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Emma Goldman
April 25 - June 20. Paris. "AN ELOQUENT WOMAN’
Article published on 24 April 2009
last modification on 8 January 2010

by r-c.
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Praz-Delavallade is pleased to announce the second solo show devoted to LA-based artist Andrea Bowers. An
Eloquent Woman is an exhibition that circles around the relationship of three women: a revolutionary, a historian and an
artist.

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was a radical feminist and anarchist revolutionary who in the early 1900’s became known for her
political activism, writing and speeches. She was a proponent of workers’ rights, women’s rights, prisoners’ rights, free
love and anti-conscription. This exhibition uses as its inspiration a series of passionate love letters written by Goldman
100 years ago, from 1908 to 1917, to her lover at the time, Ben Reitman, who was 10 years her junior.

Ben Reitman

The sum of the
works in the exhibition existentially investigate the pain and struggles in trying to live out one’s political ideals in one’s
personal life. Bowers questions how one reconciles her political beliefs in the intimacy of private life and looks toward
Emma Goldman and her archivist, Candace Falk, as role models.

Candace Falk

The exhibition contains a new single-channel video, a
series of drawings, workers’ rights protest posters and a sculpture based on a social intervention The new 20 minute
video, also titled An Eloquent Woman, was begun over a year ago while researching at The Emma Goldman Papers at
the University of California, Berkeley. Bowers became compelled by the Founder and Editor, Candace Falk, because of
her intense dedication to archiving and understanding the life and work of another woman. This video expands on
Bowers’ belief in the importance of storytelling as a feminist tradition and an alternative to the canonized record of
history. Her continued exploration of the 1970’s feminist mantra, “The personal is political” is central in this piece as
both Goldman and Falk insist on the messy but empowered existence gained from entwining the real woman and the
public figure with political radicalism. This video scans at great detail through Goldman’s expressively scrawled
handwriting where we can only catch glimpses of words. Floating between abstraction and legibility, the privacy of love
letters is kept intact while asking us to expand our notion of the gesture and free expression.

Candace Falk narrates the
video and focuses on the interrelationships of Goldman, Reitman and the Haymarket Martyrs, a group of anarchists
hung by the United States for a bombing in Chicago at a workers’ rights protest. They were later found innocent. The
video was shot in two locations: super-8 film at the Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago and video of Goldman’s love letters
at the Emma Goldman Papers. A new series of drawings further investigates the personal and political underpinnings of
gesture and mark-making; a historically masculine style of working is redirected into feminist discourse. Bowers uses
Goldman’s love letters as a source for her new drawings where she subjectively selects sentences and clauses to draw.
The autobiographies of the two woman overlap through Bowers’ meticulous copying of Goldman’s handwriting.

Included in the exhibition is a photorealist drawing of an archival picture of Emma Goldman lecturing about a women’s
right to birth control while standing on a truck in a huge sea of men in Manhattan. She was later arrested and jailed for
this speech. Additionally, Bowers has made a large edition of political posters with spray paint and gift wrapping paper
based on workers’ rights protest slogans. Many of the declarations come from Goldman, the Haymarket Anarchists and
the International Workers of the World. Slogans from contemporary protests have been included as well. For example,
“Quand on n’aura plus de pain, on mangera de la brioche” was recently displayed on a protest sign by Claudine
Chettab, a laid-off purchasing agent at a workers protest in Paris on March 19, 2009.

Bowers will be delivering Brioche
to a union office each week of her exhibition. Andrea Bowers was born in 1965 in Wilmington, OH, US and lives and
works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA at the California Institute of the Arts in 1992. In addition to several group
exhibitions Bower’s recent solo exhibitions have included: Secession, Vienna, Austria; Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg,
Germany; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; ArtPace, San Antonio, TX; Core Program, Glassell School of Art, Museum of
Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Magazin 4, Voralberger Kunstverein, Bregenz, Austria; Institute of Visual Arts (INOVA),
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; and the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA. Among others
Andrea Bowers work is included in the following collections: The Guggenheim Museum, New York; MOMA, New York;
MOCA, Los Angeles; The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The
Museum Abteiberg, Moenchengladbach; The Ingvild Goetz Collection, Munich; ArtPace, San Antonio, TX.

A sample of the video-projection "Vows"

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