YOUR PARENTS ARE SOO OLD
Solo show by Georgina Maxim
8 - 11 November 2019
Le Carreau du Temple , rue Eugène Spuller– 75003 Paris
For its first participation at the AKAA fair from 8 to 11 November 2019 in Paris, 31 PROJECT presents a solo show by Georgina Maxim.
Your parents are soo old is an exhibition presenting several new textile pieces by Zimbabwean artist Georgina Maxim. From second-hand clothes that the artist dismantles into hundreds of strips, she sews and invents abstract textile pieces, moving, torn and recomposed surfaces, thus creating a very personal cartography.
These clothes bear the history of their former owners, a silent memory and an absence against which the artist tries to remedy stitch by stitch. Georgina Maxim gathers the scattered pieces, sews, embroiders and draws the scars to fight against oblivion. Each colour and element thus assembled reactivates these stories accumulated into new narratives.
Text by Clémence Houdart
November 2019, Paris
The preservation and restoration of memory is at the heart of Georgina Maxim's work. Through weaving and embroidery she assembles hundreds of scattered pieces of textiles from blouses, dresses and mostly feminine and second-hand clothing. Her works are nourished by the stories evoked by these garments as intaglio testimonies of those who wore them. Georgina Maxim works with the fragmentation and fragmentation of her medium and then stitches the shreds back together stitch by stitch, thus multiplying the stories and inventing new narratives.
Your parents are soo old, lyrics reminiscent of the artist's childhood, serve as the starting point for this series of recent works by Georgina Maxim. In the movement of successive generations from disappearance to birth, she draws a singular family narrative around filiation and its roots.
"Every time my Mbuya and Sekuru came, it was always for Parents' Day or prize giving ceremonies. On those days the class would rustle with whispers and laughter because my parents seemed so old."
Shabby Agnes, at the centre of this exhibition, is a large piece of textile all in thickness, colours, lace and woollen threads. A moving and torn surface, charged with the weight of the stories it tells, it is a tribute to the missing mother. Several dresses make it up, following the artist's creative process using the splintering of the material then its recomposition. The work is a social criticism of certain traditions and rites linked to Zimbabwean culture - such as the custom that following a death all the deceased's belongings are immediately dispersed in the public square.
Hands in the cookies jar, Mhingo / when you com back carry me II, Letters I wasn't supposed to read, are all evocative titles that unfold their narratives in an echo between each of the works. They refer us to the artist's personal history, but resonate with everyone like familiar anecdotes or phrases already heard in conversation.
This familiarity is often tinged with humour, as Georgina Maxim plays with incongruous embroidered details in her pieces, offering a breath of fresh air and a slight discrepancy to her discourse.
The use of textiles offers this immediate and very organic relationship to the work. Georgina Maxim speaks to us about the bodies that have inhabited these clothes, about their absence. She tries in a quasi-performative act, through the repetition of the stitches, the needle and thread and the mechanical gesture, to compensate for this emptiness. Georgina Maxim repairs and reveals the scars. She sews flush with the skin. Her works are like an open book, a diary that transcribes both these past stories and the narrative of a daily life - that of the artist.
Each of the colourful fabrics and threads patiently assembled draw a new cartography and propose territories with rugged reliefs, in a profusion of abstract form and a weaving work that seems to have no end.
Georgina Maxim was born in Zimbabwe in 1980. She lives and works in Harare.
Georgina Maxim is known for both working as an artist and curator with over a decade of arts management and curatorial practice. In 2012, she co-founded Village Unhu, an artist-run space in Harare that provides studio spaces, exhibitions, workshops and residency programs for young and professional artists.
After completing her studies at the University of Chinhoyi, she taught visual arts for several years at the Prince Edward School, while managing the Delta Gallery, a historical gallery for contemporary art in Harare. At the same time, Georgina Maxim has developed her artistic practice by turning to textiles and using the techniques of embroidery, sewing and weaving to deconstruct, cut out and recompose second-hand clothes. Through her practice, Georgina Maxim creates unique pieces that escape any definition: the artist herself describes her work as an act of memory, a transcription of the moment, of the experiences and stories evoked by these used clothes.
In 2018, Georgina Maxim has been nominated for the Henrike Grohs Award (Goethe Institute, Abidjan). Her work has been exhibited in Zimbabwe (Delta Gallery, National Gallery of Zimbabwe) and internationally (Mojo Gallery in Dubai, 31 PROJECT in Paris and Goethe Institute in Salvador de Bahia).
In 2019, Georgina Maxim presented an installation for the Zimbabwean pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. In the same year, she took a master’s degree at the University of Bayreuth to deepen her curatorial practice. She also undertook a creative residency at the Goethe Institute in Salvador de Bahia.