This exhibition will re-open on Wednesday 19 May 2021. Open: Tue–Sun 11am–4pm.
Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings’ first solo institutional exhibition, In My Room, develops the artists’ inquiry into the politics, histories and aesthetics of queer spaces and culture. This inquiry builds on their travels across the UK whilst making ‘UK Gay Bar Directory (UKGBD)’ 2016, a moving image archive of gay bars in the UK made in response to the systematic closure of LGBTQA+ dedicated special spaces during this period. For Quinlan and Hastings, it became apparent through this research that the gay scene caters predominantly to white men. This prompted them to consider how this scene strengthens the historic male access to capital and sexual freedom.
For In My Room, a new film, shot in three different locations (Bar Jester and the Core club located in Birmingham’s gay village and Shoeburyness Fort in Southend-on-Sea) highlights the impact of gentrification upon the city and its gay communities, whilst also exploring the relationship between masculinity, capitalism and power within the urban landscape. Wall rubbings of the stone relief that fronted the recently closed Bar Jester appear as a repeating motif within the film as well as presented as unique works on paper in the exhibition.
Quinlan and Hastings have also created a major new fresco painting, bringing this specialist, ancient technique into contemporary practice by engaging with the architectural nature of the medium. Depicting a high street populated by pedestrians, the fresco considers the role urban architecture plays in the formation of identities. At a time of extreme and on-going austerity, heightened surveillance and the privatisation of public spaces, the street is an increasingly contested and political zone.