• After Mary Richardson

    On the 10th March 1914, suffragette Mary Richardson stood calmly in front of a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. She proceeded to strike the canvas with a meat cleaver in protest “against the Government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst, the most beautiful character in modern history.” Taking this incident as its starting point, After Mary Richardson, a collaboration with life model Jen Morris, examines the hierarchies of image construction and representation. Modeled on Velázqeuz’s Rokeby Venus, the image seeks to collapse the roles played by photographer, subject, and spectator, while simultaneously questioning assumptions about gender and the gaze. Morris affected both the representation of the image and, on the anniversary of the ‘attack’, the materiality of the photograph itself – the subject inflicting the wounds on the personification of their own image. By literally marking the artwork as material representation, the problematic relationship between subject and object becomes manifest.