This exhibition presents a body of new work exploring the experiences of writer Antonia White, with particular reference to her Frost in May quartet of novels.
The novels describe White’s early life and young adulthood, including time spent in Bethlem Hospital for a psychosis which was attributed to schizophrenia at the time of her admittance (late 1922) but which might now be understood as a symptom of her probable manic depressive illness (Moran, 2018).
Katy first read the Frost in May novels around the age of 13 and has revisited them repeatedly. A recent re-reading coincided with her undergoing a period of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, during which she noticed a shared difficulty in forming functional relationships with other women. In response, Katy developed a series of experimental collaborative research sessions with 13 other female practitioners across art, dance, photography, sound engineering, voice, performance, poetry, filmmaking and psychotherapy, many of whom also have lived experience of mental illness. A Cake of Painted Tin translates White’s experience into the bodies, voices and gestures of these women collaborators, creating echoes across the almost 100 years since her incarceration at Bethlem. Comprising moving image and sound, made in collaboration with an all-female crew, a collective solidarity and empathy manifests here in the present – not just with and for White, but also each other.