Buckman’s latest body of work, BLOODWORK, focuses on portraits of survivors, whether those of domestic abuse, illness, or other hardships, and their radical embracement of joy in the face of such adversity. Primarily drawn from people from Buckman’s own close circle, the subjects depicted are seen to be thriving in the wake of a prior, or persisting, pain. In the work lately I see your ribbons & your bows,a cancer survivor is seen in a moment of ecstatic exaltation; with scars visible from surgeries, her arms are thrown up behind her head and her expression exudes positivity. Inspired by rave culture and the freedom and transformative qualities of music, BLOODWORK renders many of its figures in a state of dynamism, dancing across the fabric.

2 September – 1 October 2022
Private View: Thursday 1 September 2022, 6-8 pm

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present BLOODWORK, the first UK solo exhibition of London-born, Brooklyn-based artist Zoë Buckman. Buckman’s practice takes an explicitly feminist and activist approach. Often reacting to pervasive issues in patriarchal society, her work explores experiences of gendered violence and trauma, both from a personal and social perspective. Working predominantly with embroidery on vintage textiles, Buckman brings together elements of old and new, highlighting the shared, cross-generational nature of these experiences. With an emphasis on joy, exultation and resilience, Buckman’s work posits the possibility that sisterhood and the spiritual concept of the divine feminine can act as an antidote to suffering itself.

Buckman’s latest body of work, BLOODWORK, focuses on portraits of survivors of sexual assault, miscarriage, illness or persecution, and their radical embracement of joy in the face of such adversity. Based primarily on photographs taken by Buckman of her own close circle, the subjects depicted are seen to be thriving in the wake of prior or persisting pain. In the work lately I see your ribbons & your bows, a cancer survivor is captured in a moment of ecstasy; with scars visible from surgery, her arms are thrown up behind her head, her expression euphoric. Inspired by rave culture and the liberating, transformative qualities of music, BLOODWORK renders many of its figures dancing across the fabric in a state of dynamism.

Much of Buckman’s recent work has emerged from her own writings. In Show Me Your Bruises, Then, a long-form poem inaugurated in 2018 and later developed into the artist’s first film of the same name, she explores themes of consent, power and violence, whilst simultaneously highlighting the sense of community and kinship that abounds and uplifts the femme-bodied experience. Her scrutiny of the body is at once profoundly personal and political, Buckman’s own experiences serving as a lens on the US Supreme Court’s regressive rollback of abortion rights and her adopted country’s lack of universal health care. In Dilation & Curettage, a hanging cluster of red and pink embroidered boxing gloves evoke something heavy, gorgeous and bloody, as Buckman weighs up the physical, emotional, spiritual and often financial consequences of abortion and miscarriage. The inherent reclamation of personhood in this process, both bodily and psychological, is a key theme for the artist, whose work mines the broader condition of living in a less privileged body.

Zoë Buckman (b. 1985 Hackney, East London) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice incorporates sculpture, textiles, installation and film. Current exhibitions include Another Justice: Us is Them, curated by Hank Willis Thomas & For Freedoms, at Parrish Art Museum, NY (2022); How Do We Know the World?, Baltimore Museum of Art (2021-23). Recent exhibitions include Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Art, Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2022); She Says: Women, Words and Power, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (2021). Collections include Baltimore Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, and Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk.

Film screening of Show Me Your Bruises, Then:

Friday 2 September, 6.30 pm, No. 9 Cork Street, London W1S 3LL

Please note this event is free to the public, but booking is required:

Show Me Your Bruises, Then (2021-2022) is a 3-channel video installation, written, performed and directed by Zoë Buckman, and featuring actors Cush Jumbo and Sienna Miller. Based on the artist’s free-flowing poem of the same name, the work builds a portrait of the multigenerational experience of domestic violence, and explores the shame and stigma prescribed to the female body in a patriarchal society. Although excerpts of the poem have appeared as text within Buckman’s embroidery works and in the titles of pieces, this is the first time it is presented in its entirety.