Why has the occult become such an important image for fourth–wave feminism? Turner Prize Winner Tai Shani’s work presents a profound and complex investigation into the relationships between feminism, magic, and time. Her performance-installation DC: Semiramis (2018) adapted poet Christine de Pizan’s feminist text The Book of the City of Ladies (1405). The book builds an allegorical city for notable medieval women, blurring fact and fiction in its historical narrative. Shani uses Pizan’s work as a point of departure, to imagine an alternative past and construct a possible post-patriarchal future. The title of her work, DC refers to ‘dark continent’: an allusion to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s description of female sexuality. Thinking of time in non-linear ways, DC: Semiramis probes and pushes ideas and experiences of femininity – to both critique current gender norms and structures, and radically reimagine them.
Tai Shani is a Tutor in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art; and one of the four awarded artists of the Turner Prize 2019: the artists requested for the prize to be shared as a symbol of solidarity at a time of global political crisis. She has recently exhibited her work at Temple Bar, Dublin (2019-20); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2019); CentroCentro, Madrid (2019); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2019); The Tetley, Leeds (2018), Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2018), Tramway, Glasgow (2018); Athens Biennale, Athens (2018); Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2017); Serpentine Galleries, London (2016); Tate Britain, London (2016).
Organised by Edwin Coomasaru (The Courtauld) and Rachel Warriner (The Courtauld)