On Rosie Gibbens’ artwork:
“One can encounter switches that never go on or off; bottle openers that bang against one’s face; bras that strap things together; toothbrushes that apply make-up; fans that accentuate the softness of the air; aprons that lick cushions; Vaseline that glues things together; a bunch of hair that mops the dirty floor... but who really needs cutlery when you can just use a drill anyway?” Vanessa Murrell
In performances, videos and sculptural installations I use absurdity to explore issues around consumerist desire, gender performativity and sexual politics. I want to question socially constructed rules about how to behave through art that it simultaneously silly and serious.
In my work, everyday objects are often re-purposed for performed ‘chain reactions’ which achieve simple or pointless tasks in complicated ways. This attempts to subvert learnt behaviours, insert individual agency over the intentions of manufacturers and to waste time in an efficiency driven society.
Many of these actions have sexual connotations and I often exhaust the euphemistic qualities of my object-collaborators. Interested by the way that (young, cis) female bodies are often the landscape on which desire for commodities are constructed, I approach my work as perverse product demonstrations or adverts; taking the term ‘sex sells’ to an illogical conclusion. I hope that by using humour alongside potentially pornograpahic situations, the objectifying gaze can be skewed.
I also regularly appropriate text for voice-overs to films or performances. For example, I have taken phrases from perfume adverts, reddit discussions, women’s magazines and nature documentaries. These are contrasted with incongruent visual imagery in an attempt to undermine the text’s initial purpose or narrative.
The work frequently features uniforms referencing different forms of labour, particularly customer service roles and white-collar jobs. I’m interested by gendered stereotypes in professions such as air hostesses, nurses, masseuses or office workers. The fetishisation of these outfits amplify the importance of sexual attractiveness over the actual work performed contributing to patriarchal power structures yet they are simultaneously alluring to me. I find this kind of cognitive dissonance during female identity construction confusing and fascinating.
I have recently been working on large soft sculptures and tapestries made using photographs of my body parts and underwear.