Cleaning Her. 

public performance series & video installation / 120 & 8 min each / 2018 & 2021
merchant city, glasgow, UK & st gallen, CH

You will need:

A tin bucket

Filled with clean water

A bright neon cloth

Your work uniform

Go and clean public art

made by female artists.

 

GLASGOW

Martina Morger cleaned five sculptures made by female artists in and around Merchant City Glasgow referencing the laborious history of the area. The sculptural object was only treated with water, first brushed off and, depending on the surface, also polished, both with a cloth. The movements followed the surface as an act of care. 

 

Liz Peden - Gorbals Boys (Cumberland Street)

Jacqueline Donachie - Slow Down (Grendyke Street)

Margaret Findlay & Edith Burnet Hughes - Mercat Cross (Trongate, Gallowgate)

Shona Kilnoch - Thinking of Bella (Italian Centre)

Louise Crawford & Ian Alexander - Dug-out Canoe Found AD 1871 (Tontine Lane)

 

photography by Wassili Widmer

text by Isabelle Thul: https://decoratingdissidence.com/2019/09/29/performance-cleaning-her/

ST GALLEN

The seven-part video work focuses on art in public space and the gesture of cleaning and care focusing on works by international and regional artists in the city of St.Gallen. Martina Morger thus generates attention and initiates the discourse on public commissions and demands in the art context. In addition, she questions the handling of artworks and how they are made visible. Work include:

Adelaide Pandiani Maraini - Sappho, 1895

Elisabeth Nembrini - Ohne Titel 2013

Eva Lips - Der etwas andere städtische Schulweg, 1995

Jessica Stockholder - Sign Waving Blush, 2002

Maria Eichhorn - Zeitkapsel im Wasserfall der Steinach, 2012

Marie-Cécile Boog - Brunnen Singenberg, 1991

Monika Ebner - Wassergarten, 1998

Pipilotti Rist & Carlos Martinez - stadtlounge, 2005

7 Videos, 4K-Video, 19:10, 7 Hantarex, each 7 min

camera, cut & sound by Lukas Zerbst

Cleaning Sappho - video by Lukas Zerbst: https://vimeo.com/520513941/8894a27890

Text by Roman Hertler: https://www.saiten.ch/bewundert-verschupft-und-wiederentdeckt/

26th February 2022 - 2pm: In the context of her solo show Lèche Vitrines at Kunstmuseum St Gallen there is a guided city walk open to everyone to attend. Together with director Roland Wäspe und curator Nadia Veronese five out of the eight art works of Cleaning Her will be visited. Back at the museum, together with Kristin Schmidt a discussion about public art in St Gallen will be hosted:

www.kunstmuseumsg.ch/martina-morger/detail/stadtspaziergang

CLEANING SAPPHO

Being specifically interested in women’s history and domestic labour, the performance series Cleaning Her centres around sculptures created by women artists. Many public sculptures are in poor condition and in need of care. Assuming the guise of a maintenance worker, Martina Morger traced the surfaces of each sculpture in both a caring and cleansing act. Playing with the tropes of the archetypal maintenance worker’s role, which mostly occurs unnoticed by urban society, her performance draws attention to undervalued labour and forgotten objects. In this case Martina Morger cleaned Sappho, a sculpture by Adelaide Pandiani Maraini in order to shine a light on the utterly neglected sculpture. The process of the symbolic cleaning is best described as “spiritual labour” rather than “maintenance work”, as the sculptures were thereby not repaired. The tracing of the objects with the cloth is a bodily experience that goes beyond the visual. The interaction with each sculpture is individual and intimate. The time and care given deliberately to sculptures made by female artists evokes an engagement with the history of the objects. The opportunity to engage with public sculptures in this manner is not to be limited to the artist and thus she has chosen to publish a score encouraging others to reiterate the performance in a location of their choice.