[Rosary Drawing XII performance, rehearsal in studio, Birgitta Hosea, 2015]
[Remnants from Rosary Drawing XII performance, Birgitta Hosea, 2015]
This work was developed by Birgitta Hosea during a residency in a former convent in Atina, Lazio, Italy that was organised and curated by Rekha Sameer.
Although brought up aetheist, Birgitta Hosea spent the entire residency drawing her recently deceased and much mourned Swedish grandmother’s broken rosary beads and trying to learn more about the Catholic faith of her mother’s family.
The more she drew, the more she began to think about about both of her grandmothers, one Swedish, one Scottish, and indeed about all of the women who work tirelessly and selflessly for their families: invisible labour that is taken for granted and forgotten about.
[Image by Chris Simpson, 2015, cropped]
By the 12th drawing, she decided to use the tools and materials of domestic cleaning to make a drawing of the rosary beads – scrubbing away the paper to create the highlighlights on each bead. As the antique Roman floor was too delicate to make a performance using scouring on, out of the the many drawings she had made, at the final exhibition she chose to only show these.
[Rosary Drawing XII, Atina Residency exhibition, Palazzo Ducale dei Cantelmo, Atina, Italy, 2015]
For Hosea, this work captured everything she had learnt on the residency – that the actions of cleaning and the time taken to scrub each piece of paper could be recorded in a sequence of images that ressemble a filmstrip. Like a filmstrip, the rosary is also a device to record actions over time – the prayers that are supposed to be said for each bead. So for her, this work is a type of animation.
Asked to submit experimental animation for Beyond Noumenon, an exhibition and forum at Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in Chongqing, China, she submitted a proposal to perform this work as a piece of live animation and, to her surprise, was accepted with great enthusiasm and generosity by curators Tingting Lu and Tianran Duan.
She then performed the drawing at the private view next to other wall-based sequential images she had made. Scrubbed clean of all makeup, on her hands and knees, she said invocations while going through the rosary beads and scrubbed one piece of paper for each bead on the string.
[Rosary Drawing XII performance, Birgitta Hosea, Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts, 2016]
Following this exhibition, she performed the work again at 51% Remember Her, a group exhibition of feminist art curated by Rebecca Feiner at Tower Gallery, London.
[Rosary Drawing XII performance, Birgitta Hosea, Tower Gallery, London, 2017]
Click here to view the 51% Remember Her catalogue: 51%_Catalogue
This work then became part of her solo show Erasure, at Hanmi Gallery, Seoul, Korea in 2018. View catalogue here.
Interview about the show by Studio International.
Footage of the show (silent) with video documentation of Rosary XII performance at the private view: