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The semiotics of the dress

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In this exhibition of political textile
and installation art, Genevieve Memory considers the power of the sign of the dress,
the problem of gender inequality for women in Australia, and feminism’s paradoxical inability to incite positive change.

Genevieve Memory is a visual artist, composer, curator, arts writer and egalitarian living and working on First Nation’s land in Meanjin/Brisbane.  Her visual art practice is centred around portraiture and self-portraiture, her overarching themes being identity and the mind.  She has a special interest in gender identity.

The semiotics of the dress, Genevieve’s rolling project begun in 2015, challenges viewers to reconsider rigid gender and identity boundaries in contemporary society by interrogating the sign-value of women’s clothing and its relationship to gender bias.  Many theorists including Eco, Barthes and Wilson have proposed that clothing functions as a system of signs or a kind of language. By using women’s clothing in her practice, Genevieve aims to engage viewers in a discussion about what it means to identify or be identified as a woman today.  This work is important in the broader context because gender equality for women has not been achieved in Australia – women and girls of all identities continue to face disadvantage and discrimination due to persisting conscious and unconscious biases, evidenced by realities such as the gender pay gap.

This iteration of The semiotics of the dress presents Genevieve’s most personal, no-holds-barred responses to the myth of Australian women’s gender equality, feminism’s role in Australia’s inability to achieve it, and how talking about women as a group has become an art world taboo.

Friday 4 – Saturday 26 February 2022

Daily Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am – 2:00pm
Sundays CLOSED

Image Credits:
Genevieve Memory. Don’t get your dress dirty (2021). Acrylic artist’s paint on altered vintage cocktail dresses, vintage wooden hangers. Dimensions variable.
Genevieve Memory. Mint green cocktail dress (2021). Found handmade vintage cocktail dresses, vintage wooden hanger. Dimensions variable. Detail from the Don’t get your dress dirty series.

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