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Image by France-Lise McGurn © The artist


These selves of which we are made up, one on top of another, as plates are piled on a waiter’s hand, have attachments elsewhere, sympathies, little constitutions and rights of their own, call them what you will (and for many of these things there is no name) so that one will only come if it is raining, another in a room with green curtains…, another if you can promise it a glass of wine – and so on; for everybody can multiply from her own experience the different terms which her different selves have made with her – and some are too wildly ridiculous to be mentioned in print at all. 

Virginia Woolf – Orlando, 1928


Tuesday 2 October 2018 to Sunday 9 December 2018. 
Galleries 12 & 13

This exhibition is inspired by the work of celebrated author and pioneering feminist Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). Using Woolf’s writing as a lens through which to explore feminist perspectives on landscape, domesticity and identity, the exhibition follows Woolf’s notion that creative women ‘think back through our mothers.’ It draws attention to the many connections between Woolf, her contemporaries and those who share an affinity with her work – whether such connections are tangible, anecdotal, geographic or imagined.

It was in Cambridge in the 1920s that Woolf first gave the lectures in which she urged future graduates of Newnham and Girton colleges (then for Women) to establish a ‘…room of one’s own.’ Her pioneering and motivating spirit – towards financial independence and creative freedom – infuses this exhibition. With the aim of weaving together an artistic, matriarchal genealogy, of showing how Woolf’s writing is embedded within the complex works and histories of a lineage of artists and writers, this exhibition acknowledges and extols a wider creative community whose art rallies to and resonates with Woolf’s cry to rectify the ‘lop-sidedness of history.’

Woolf’s writing regularly depicts a dynamic connection between rooms and houses, land and sea. This exhibition, including works by over 80 artists from 1854 to the present day, is structured in the same way. It explores different perspectives on landscape and public life; domesticity and the home, and the private self and subconscious.