Two In A Coffin, 2019

An Exhibition by Valentina Curandi and Isabelle Sully 

Works included: loop video projection of Measures for Marwan 73 min, cardboard coffin Imagining Two in A Coffin, flooding of the art space floor Viability test (240 litres of slip, damage prevention measures, signed liability agreement), Hiding in the Open reversed drywall from the room’s wall, Policy No. IV Regarding Property, sound piece and performance. Curated by Tirza Kater and and Tim Mathijsen, Marwan artist run space (Amsterdam, NL) 

The concept for this exhibition stems from the practitioners’ differing approaches to the effects of standardisation of both the gendered body of women and artistic production. 

While Sully’s practice rotates around an interest in the administration of life, Curandi’s work approaches the management of death. The interests merge into a shared vision on institutional performativity that required an ongoing dialogue with the space’s organizers and curators Kater and Mathijsen, often involved to partake in our demands and conditions for developing artistic work in the space. The collaboration results in a body of works reflecting on the terms and conditions for togetherness, and on the negotiations required for activating an artistic space as site and reason for the reciprocal commitment. 

‘Two in a coffin’ is a fragment of writing from the book ‘Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Institution and Experience’ by poet and essayist Adrienne Rich, that alludes and depicts the systematic erasure of female bodies at the onset of medical gynecology, when hospitals used to bury women in pairs to alter the official rates of pregnancy and labour’s mortality. 

While the reference addresses bodies that have been disappeared twice – in death and in the loss of their identity – the fragment becomes an expression in the context of our two-persons exhibition. 

‘Two In A Coffin’ sets the intention for merging seemingly polar artistic interests and enacting feminist strategies of shared authorship while occupying together the confined space of Marwan. 

Site-specific installations, a sound piece, a video projection, other textual and performative works relate to the protection of property, and to the negotiation of visibility in coupled endeavours.