The Unnamed Room was a new performance by artists Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet, commissioned by Pavilion in 2016-17. The performance was produced in relation to the artists’ wider project Spectacles Without Object through which the artists are exploring specific occurrences of utopian performances in the past, before the moment Art History usually assigns to the beginnings of performance art. The Unnamed Room had a particular focus on the suffragette movement in Leeds and extended the artists’ interests in historical reconstruction, martial arts and feminist histories. The work was presented in Leeds across four separate locations on the University of Leeds campus: The Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery; The Brotherton Library; The Great Hall; The 1913 Room.
It was produced with the generous support of Fluxus Art Projects, the Franco-British programme for contemporary art.
Can you please take off your shoes to sit on the tatami? Hello Hannah, Hello Paul!
Do you know suffrajitsu ? It’s a school of jiu jitsu that was elaborated by and for suffragettes. According to Edith, a master of suffrajitsu : the only difference that remains between men and women is strength, for different reasons, like natural selection. According to Edith, Jujitsu is a way to establish a real equality between men and women because it uses the opponent’s strength.
Let’s imagine Hannah is a suffragette. Thank you for your participation, you are from the university jiu jitsu foundation. So let’s imagine you are a suffragette about to send a brick in a vitrine. And you Paul (thank you) are a policeman about to arrest her.
Hannah and Paul perform a jiu jitsu demonstration in costume : the policeman tries to grab the suffragette, and she puts him on the floor.
Can you repeat more slowly please ?
Can you do it and explain the movements, so that everybody understands ?
Repeat, Hannah describes the movements.
Thank you, that was really clear!
While she speaks, Paul and Hannah start a jiu jitsu fight. They go on until the end of Leonora’s story. She tells the story with enthusiasm.
In Leeds there was a woman who was one of Emmeline’s personal bodyguard, her name was Leonora. She was trained by Edith to do Jiu Jitsu, so she fought the police and defended Emmeline. She marched to Woodhouse Moor to demand women’s vote. One day in London, she tried to attack the crown jewels with an iron bar and went to prison.
Hannah and Paul stop the fight. They stand up.
Performance, Pavilion, Leeds, 2017, curator Gill Park
La salle sans nom est une performance inédite de Louise Hervé et Chloé Maillet produite par Pavilion en 2016-2017. La performance fait partie d’un ensemble de projets regroupés sous le titre Spectacles sans objets dans lequel les artistes exploraient des performances historiques conçues par des groupes utopiques et politiques, dans une tentative de généalogie de la performance à des époques se situant bien avant l’apparition du terme dans un contexte artistique.
La salle sans nom décrit certains aspects du mouvement suffragette à Leeds, en explorant la reconstitution historique, l’histoire du féminisme et des arts martiaux. La performance était présentée à Leeds sous la forme d’un parcours entre quatres lieux du campus universitaire : la salle des trésors de la bibliothèque Brotherton, la bibliothèque elle-même, le grand hall et la salle 1913.
La performance a été produite grâce au soutien de Fluxus Art Projects.