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avatar for Rachael House

Rachael House

Artist
London, UK
Rachael House is an artist who makes events, objects, performances, comic strips and zines. Themes running through her work include feminism (particularly it's intersection with punk), queer politics, sexuality, mental health, collective joy and ecstatic resistance. She makes work in public space as well as galleries and zines, and is interested in audiences for and access to contemporary art. Her work imagines new possibilities & ways of being in the world.
Rachael's work is currently showing in The New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge, as part of 'Focus on Feminism & Gender'. In August she is part of 'GirlFrenzy to CroneFrenzy' with Erica Smith at Supernormal as well as facilitating 'Agency-Make your Mark' at the Arnolfini in Bristol. She has recently been nominated for a National Diversity Award.
Rachael is also co-director of Space Station Sixty-Five, artist run space.

Rachael House: Red Hanky Panky Repositioned

A performative reading of my autobiographical comic strips, from my queerzine Red Hanky Panky, with particular focus on two strips; one about depression, one grief. It is often considered insulting to artists to suggest that their work may be “therapeutic”. Yet we are swift to acknowledge that when we cannot make work for one reason or another (e.g. day job, family commitments, lack of space) our mental health suffers. So what happens when mental health issues leave us unable to make sense of the world in our accustomed way, through making? When does it become possible to articulate one’s inability to articulate? The strip relating to my depression is circular. In it, I need to make sense of the depression through drawing/making, but I cannot make or draw because I am dealing with depression. There is a tension between my lack of agency and the tight, scratchy, but controlled drawing. I could not have drawn what I describe when in the initial phases of depression. Following the death of my parents I drew a strip about grief. In this case I had no intention of making work relating to my bereavement, but “my hands know more than I do”. The strip shows that all the work I had been making was loaded with the burden of my loss, but the only people who could witness that – my mother and father – were no longer alive. The strips will be performed as a reading. They are printed panel by panel on large sheets of paper, and as each one is read it is stuck on a wall until the whole strip unfolds. The performativity of this presentation, it’s slowing down of the reading, gives a slightly stumbling awkwardness, fitting the subjects.

 

My Speakers Sessions

Saturday, July 9
 

13:00