Acts of Clothing


Great Britain / 1999 / 60'

”The intention is to perform the Acts every
seven years. I am not due to perform till
2020 so I am making an exception for an
exceptional festival.”

– Marcia Farquhar, 2016

Intimate bodily functions and extreme physical actions are the basic material for so much of what is classified as performance art. So too are the unseen human lives, played out behind closed doors. The ‘privacy of one’s own home’ has always suggested some slightly awkward adult behaviour. I felt I had to somehow imagine another way of dealing in intimacy. Acts of Clothing was the result of this thinking. I thought about getting dressed – the often absurd attempt to get going, or keep going, as enacted in the daily effort of putting on clothes, and the desires that these everyday choices represent.

In ’99 I thought of myself as old. I had turned 40 the year before, and considered my wardrobe in the light of this new age. I remembered Mary Kelly writing about retiring her leather jacket after the age of 40. Some of my clothes no longer fitted, but were retained for sentimental reasons. Others were there because they looked so lovely hanging emptily. Their emptiness was full of their own histories. This was my intimate possibility. I arrived at the idea of exhibiting my wardrobe, and, going further, of dressing and undressing and dressing again, in front of a live audience, decoding and discussing these 25 years of clothing as I went. I liked the idea of a middleaged woman up on a homemade catwalk in a public space, challenging the size, the age and above all the silence of the fashion model. Anyone of a certain age could do this.

It is not a vanity exercise. It is rather something slightly wonky, Beckettian, a recollection, a rumination, a rummage even. 

In English.

Organisation: City of Women in collaboration with Gallery Škuc.

Acts of Clothing