Mary Kelly: Projects, 1973–2010
The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester
19 February–12 June 2011
by ANNA McNAY
There is a lot more to Mary Kelly’s work than just dirty nappies. Nevertheless, no retrospective would be complete without the inclusion of Post-Partum Document (1973–1979), notorious for causing a ruckus in the British press when exhibited at the ICA in 1976. Indeed, it is the idea of a document which best encapsulates Kelly’s work as a whole. The large-scale narrative installations, or projects, a comprehensive selection of which are on show at the Whitworth Art Gallery until mid-June, not only capture the moment at which they were made, the time which they represent (not always contemporaneous, as in, for example, Habitus (2010), a structure based on the Anderson Shelter, and “corrugated” with texts relating to memories of those born during or after the Second World War), but also resound as both historical and contemporary memories.
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