In her ongoing series Feminist Fan, Just knits depictions of well-known feminist artworks and protests. The works shown here are based on media images of all-female activist groups from Russia, Ukraine, China, and the US. These groups adopt vivid styles of dress and self-presentation in order to create confrontational images that are highly recognizable and likely to be widely disseminated. Each work contains roughly 10,000 stitches and takes 90 hours to produce. This labor and endurance highlight the physical, temporal, and emotional investments required for both knitting and public activism.
Feminist Fan #2 (Femen at the Hague, 2012), 2015
Feminist Fan #3 (Pussy Riot at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, 2012), 2015
Feminist Fan #6 (Femen at the Barbie Dream House, Berlin, 2013), 2015
Collection of Hayley Smorgon, Toorak, Victoria, Australia
Feminist Fan #7 (Chinese Feminist Five’s 2012 Protest against domestic violence in Beijing), 2015
Feminist Fan #8 (Sailor Moon Girl Gang Cosplay: Michelle Nguyen, Mandie Bettencourt, Ruby Rocket, Yume Ninja, and Jennifer Newman, 2013), 2015
Private collection Sydney, Australia
All works hand knitted wool and acrylic yarns, canvas, and timber. All works courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted.
Gallery 1 – Beverly Reynolds Gallery
“Every work I have ever made engages with a feminist desire to transform suppressive histories, reclaim subjective agency, and explode the limitations of female representation in art and culture.” –Kate Just
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
I am motivated by a desire to understand, examine, question and expose current conditions affecting women, or queer people. I am also motivated by a desire to subjectively weave my own story into the art historical cannon.
WHAT DOES THE WORD DECLARATION MEAN TO YOU?
Every work in my series Feminist Fan, is a declaration of love, adoration, and respect for the feminist artists and activists who have informed my own identity as an artist and woman.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE SHOWING YOUR WORK AT THIS MOMENT IN HISTORY? IN THIS LOCATION?
In the very early years of my career, I shied away from the feminist implications of my work. I soon realized that every work I had ever made engaged with a feminist desire to transform suppressive histories, reclaim subjective agency, and explode the limitations of female representation in art and culture. Once I began to embrace my radical tendencies, I felt my mind and the world opened up for me as an artist. This feels like a significant moment in history as it is marked by crisis and also a kind of radical evolution. Rightly, queer and feminist artists, artists of colour, and political artists are being placed at the forefront of culture, and being valued as voices which can herald a necessary change. Being part of an exhibition in a major institution like ICA that launches with a radical intention is thrilling.
Born 1974 Hartford, Connecticut; Lives in Melbourne, Australia
Kate Just is a multimedia artist whose expansive body of work incorporates a diverse range of materials, including knitting, resin, clay, collage, and photography. Central to her practice is the exploration of feminist representations of the body. Just has produced a number of socially engaged projects and public works about urban community, female representation, and violence against women.
Just received her BFA in Painting from the Victorian College of the Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Filmmaking from Boston University, her MFA from RMIT University in Melbourne and her PhD in Sculpture from Monash University. Select solo exhibitions: A.I.R Gallery in Brooklyn (2016); Craft Victoria in Melbourne (2011); Kunsthalle Krems in Austria (2011); and the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Fitzroy, Australia (2006). Select group exhibitions: Rijswisk Textile Biennial, Netherlands (2017); Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo, Japan (2016); National Gallery of Australia in Melbourne (2016); Heide Museum of Art in Bulleen, Victoria (2012); and Linden Centre for Contemporary Art in St. Kilda, Australia (2001). Collections include: National Gallery of Australia, Ergas Collection in Sydney, Artbank, and Ararat Regional Gallery. Select awards: Asialink Residency (2016), Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Prize (2015), Melbourne Arts Grants (2014), Australia Council for the Arts (2013), Rupert Bunny Visual Arts Fellowship (2013), and Siemens Fine Art Award (2007).