Tuesday Talk - Eva Rowson review

23rd February 2016 at 09:56

Review by Megan Day-Haynes


Eva Rowson is an artist, organiser and curator based in London. Her talk, and in turn her art, opens up the question “Why do it yourself?” She and many other artists chose to create and curate their own exhibitions, despite not being afforded the opportunity to do so by the university. They produced pop up exhibitions in basements, disused shops and anywhere that had an interesting space.

This “do it yourself” attitude is prominent in the organisation and curatorial role Rowson employs. Since graduating from Leeds, she moved to London and is still motivated by this attitude. Having graduated as an artist, she no longer produces work but presents, organises and curates for other artists. Her work is focused on the domestic setting and particularly her living room. By bringing art into the domestic setting, Rowson has broken down that barrier between the “white cube” gallery space and the domestic space. Herein, she merges the public and private.

Rowson remarks: “We make the art scene, we make the art exhibitions.” The whole construction of the exhibition is on her terms and at her convenience. It could be said that by exhibiting in her living room, the art has taken on something of her. However, Rowson is very much intrigued with how the work interacts within the space, how it works next to a certain piece of furniture or if the viewers will sit on the sofa and observe the art. Rowson’s first exhibition was of her partner, Luke Drozd, in 2010. Other events have included performances, such as music concerts and a recent performance titled Book-ish, whereby her entire living room was transformed into a book fair, inviting guests to read, buy, sit and enjoy the experience.

The talk concluded with an interesting question to the artist: Is all this an attempt at avoiding becoming an institution? She answered that all their exhibitions were non-profitable and the “space was there to have fun together.” She remarked that she wasn’t contesting against institutions, purely believing that there needn’t be one.

Thus, through her artistic background and knowledge of the art world, Rowson is beginning to challenge that notion of the “white cube” and what makes that so different or superior to any other space. It is then a question of whether it is purely her fantasy of creating convenience and comfort or whether art in a domestic space is the future of art.


Rowson, E (2016) Eva Rowson [Talk to Peter Scott Gallery] 16/02/2016