The Elect, Soft Restriction
Featuring the Descendants of the Whores of Babylon

Paige Perkins

Exhibition: 23rd February - 9th March 2008
Open: Thurs - Sun, 1-5pm
Artist talk: Sat 1st March, 7.30pm

Paige Perkins' solo show at Grey Area consists of an installation that challenges notions of confinement and intimacy both within the context of an art gallery, and within a constructed 'private' space. Informed by Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers (1943), The Elect has occupancy in the gallery as an observed cell, replacing its white walls and windows with a soft restricted chamber. The distorted image of the viewing window promises repeated voyeurism but also questions the legitimacy and clarity of this act.

The Uncanny nature of The Elect swells within the space to encompass a group of small paintings from an ongoing series entitled Whores of Babylon. The mute ‘Whores’ seem to inhabit staged environments in which their abject existence teeters between such dualities as ‘safety’ and ‘harm’, ‘intimacy’ and ‘distance’.

‘French prison authorities, convinced that ‘‘work is freedom’’, give the inmates paper from which they are required to make bags. It was on this brown paper that Genet wrote, in pencil, Our Lady of the Flowers. One day while the prisoners were marching in the yard, a turnkey entered the cell, noticed the manuscript, took it away and burnt it. Genet began again.’

Sartre, J.P. (1963), Introduction to Our Lady of the Flowers