Madwoman/Gentlewoman

Posted on October 9, 2016 by Basement

Our blogger Jonty had a chat to Kate Bartlett about her new mixed-media work Madwoman/Gentlewoman, opening in the Studio this Tuesday.

What can we expect from the show?

Ah expectations, that anxiety inducing word. I think people can expect a kind of performance-quiche of different things. I talk a bit, move around a bit, do nothing a bit, lament a bit, flail/fail a bit, forget a bit and so on… this makes it sound like the audience are just hanging out with me in my house, so maybe it’s that, but taken up quite a few notches.

Perhaps a kind of magic-realism can be expected too, the work draws from personal experience and utilizes object manipulation as visual metaphor for the things my words or movement alone cannot communicate.

Were there any particular experiences that inspired the show?

There’s a number of different experiences that influence this work, but there are two that are the most significant. One being the end of a ten year relationship and the other the death of my Grandad. Both happened within the same year, and both shifted and shook up my world in an indescribable way. I was grappling with two different types of loss, and trying to process this idea (and real tangible thing) that is absence and moving on, or just moving forward.

What are the central questions, themes, or conflicts that lies at the heart of the work for you?

At the big squishy veiny heart of it are the notions of aloneness, memory, anxiety, loss, and survival – not necessarily in that order, but they are all in there.

What shows / writers do you draw inspiration from?

I think that lots of writers/people/things inspire my work in differing ways, and sometimes it’s just one excerpt/moment/line/image from a performance/film/novel that sticks with me and leaks in to my own performance-making. Madwoman/Gentlewoman contains some pivotal lists so here’s some inspiring artists in list-form: Tim Etchells, Sean Curham, Alys Longley, A.M.Homes, Deborah Pearson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Meg Stuart, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Charlie Kaufman, Janet Frame and Jacques Audiard

What was the most difficult part of developing the show?

This work is a development of a fifteen-minute performance I did as part of the Somewhere Series, which is an experimental performance evening run by Nisha Madhan. I found that the most difficult thing was forcing myself to slow down and continue developing the existing material I already had, opposed to just throwing 100 new ideas into the pot.

What do you love about ArtWeek?

This is my first time taking part in ArtWeek, but I love how inclusive it is as a festival. There’s a lot of diversity in the program too, which is really important.

Madwoman/Gentlewoman is part of our collaboration with Auckland ArtWeek 2016. Info and tickets can be found here. More of Jonty’s writing can be found on his blog