VIRGINIA HAM is the first institutional solo exhibition of Scottish artist Morag Keil (*1985 in Edinburgh, lives in London). Keil studied at Glasgow School of Art and at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. She received the Prix Lafayette 2010 at FIAC in Paris and, in that same year, Morag Keil organised (together with Manuela Gernedel) an event at Chisenhale Gallery in London. A show at Focal Point Gallery in Southend, as part of its Offsite Projects will be realized in 2011.
In the ground floor of the NAK, Morag Keil created an installation as a form of visual essay, consisting of objets trouvés, rails, stands, drawings of women, and photos of an androgynous body. The setting at the heart of the exhibition is reminiscent of a wasteland, in which objects of a personal nature are scattered exposing personal belongings to the public and evoking associations.
The title of the exhibition, VIRGINIA HAM, comes from an early interview with the musician Marilyn Manson, where he used this term as slang for a woman´s vagina. The name Virginia, the virgin, thus particularly plays with a sexual reading of the female body. The artist took on this element in her work by way of flower watercolours, and continued this process with a link to the American artist, Judy Chicago, who took a significant stand for the rights and recognition of women artists.
Contextually, the rails in the installation reference the film, How to Shoot a Crime, by the artist and writer Chris Kraus, in which actually crime scene footage used. Departing from this situation, the photographs and drawings bridge feminist discourse. Here as well Chris Kraus serves as a reference in her role as co-editor of the American publishing house Semiotext(e). Founded in the early 1970s by Sylvère Lothringer it was initially important for the reception of French philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Gilles Deuleuze and Felix Guattari in the US. Kathryn Bigelow also was a student of Sylvère Lothringer.