Dancing at the Edge of the World: Sara Zanin Gallery, Rome

7 February - 13 July 2020

Dancing at the Edge of the World


7 February – 23 April 2020

Private View: 7thFebruary, 7-9 pm 


Saelia Aparicio

Charlotte Colbert

Monika Grabuschnigg

Zsófia Keresztes

Alexi Marshall

Florence Peake

Proudick (Lindsey Mendick and Paloma Proudfoot)

Megan Rooney

Eve Stainton


curated by 

Marcelle Joseph


z2o Sara Zanin Gallery

via della Vetrina, 21

00186 Rome



‘...when women speak truly, they speak subversively -- they can't help it: 

if you're underneath, if you're kept down, you break out, you subvert. 

We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, 

as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains’. 


Ursula K. Le Guin

(Bryn Mawr Commencement Address (1986)in Dancing at the Edge of the World (1989))


To make a new world you start with an old one, certainly. 

To find a world, maybe you have to have lost one. Maybe you have to be lost. 

This dance of renewal, the dance that made the world, was always danced here 

at the edge of things, on the brink, on the foggy coast.


Ursula K. Le Guin

(World-Making (1981) inDancing at the Edge of the World (1989))



Appropriating the title of Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1989 non-fiction collection, Dancing at the Edge of the World, this group exhibition envisions a futuristic, alternative world where humankind speaks what Le Guin calls the ‘mother tongue’, the language that encourages relations, networks and exchanges, instead of the forked ‘father tongue’ – the language of power spoken by ‘Civilised Man’ who sees the rest of society in a terminal dichotomy of subject/object, self/other, male/female, mind/body, active/passive, Man/Nature, dominant/submissive. The exhibition itself will be a centre of subversive feminist activity where the body – fleshy, often leaky and sometimes desirous - is omnipresent but never separated from the mind. The artists in this exhibition invade their own privacy to explore embodiment and representation in an anarchic and self-realising strategy of empowerment. There will be artworks that have an eruptive feeling that echo the universes that can be found in Le Guin’s novels that yearn for a feminist or non-binary utopia - a new universalism of sorts, devoid of inequality, domination and exploitation and full of feminine pleasure. 


At the centre of this exhibition will be a ‘drawing in space’ in the form of a king-sized canopy bed complete with a queen’s crown made by Charlotte Colbert that will be activated through performance on Wednesday, 26thFebruary 2020. Florence Peake and Eve Stainton will perform a volcanic duet, using the intimacy of their lesbian polyamorous relationship to elevate the marginalised affection, sexuality, power and energy of the sensual and visceral queer body. The backdrop of this performative space will be a giant wall mural produced specifically for this exhibition by Saelia Aparicio. Another performance will take place on the opening night when Proudick (the artist duo and collaborative artistic enterprise founded by Lindsey Mendick and Paloma Proudfoot) transform themselves into shopkeepers to man their designer shoe shop - that quintessential haven of aspirational feminine desire.


In this exhibition, to quote Le Guin one last time, these ten female-identifying artists ‘dance[ ]… at the edge of things’ in order to rid the old world of its populist, patriarchal tendencies that have persisted in the oppression and othering of humans that lay outside a narrow demographic of power and genius and to build a new world where marginalised communities are not always on the verge of becoming but have become fully actualised humans with all the rights and privileges of ‘Civilised Man’. 


Artist Biographies


Saelia Aparicio (b. 1982, Spain) is a London-based Spanish artist who completed her MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 2015. Her multidisciplinary work dwells on ideas of the organic, establishing analogies between corporeal and social mechanisms. The body is a malleable source of wonder and horror for Aparicio in her practice that spans large-scale mural drawings and sculptures that often feature modified found objects and mouth blown glass. Humour, and an aesthetic style inspired by comic books and cartoons, belies a concern for the bodily impact of daily life, the environment, disease and age. In 2019, Aparicio won Generaciones 2019, one of the most prestigious awards for emerging artists in Europe, and was commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery to make the film ‘Green Shoots’ for their General Ecology symposium and research project, ‘The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish with Plants’ in London. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Protesis para invertebrados’, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (2019); ‘Smudging Gooey Airs’, Sarabande Foundation, London (2018); ‘Cadena Atrofica’, Murcia, Spain in collaboration with designer Attua Aparicio from Silo Studio (2018); ‘Your Consequences Have Actions’, The Tetley, Leeds (2017); ‘Peaks & Troughs’, TURF Projects, London (2017); ‘Burning With Joy’, ASC Gallery, London (2016); and ‘Espeleologia epidermica’, Domus Artium, Salamanca, Spain (2015). Group shows include: ‘Retour Sur Mulholland Drive’ (curated by Nicolas Bourriaud), La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2017); ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries’, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, and The ICA, London (2016), and ‘A Mysterical Day’ (curated by Tai Shani), Serpentine Gallery public programme, London (2016). Aparicio has undertaken the following residencies: FIBRA Platform, Mexico (2019); The Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK (2019); New Contemporaries Studio Bursary with Sarabande: The Lee Alexander Mcqueen Foundation (2017); Sema Nanji Residency, Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2016); Salzamt Aterlierhaus, Linz, Austria (2014); and Joan Miró Foundation, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2012).


Charlotte Colbert (b. 1985, New York, USA) is a Franco/British moving image and multimedia artist who lives and works in London. She completed her MFA at London Film School in 2009. Language, psychoanalysis and sociopolitical constructions of gender and identity are at the heart of Colbert’s practice. Colbert’s recent ceramic series continues her play with the inversion and subversion of the inside and the outside. Bodily functions and reproductive organs are reimagined through baby pink lacquered and flocked ceramic sculptures of viral cells, breasts and stomachs. 

Selected solo exhibitions include: ‘Guests: A Day at Home’, V&A Museum of Childhood, London (2018); ‘Ordinary Madness’, Gazelli Art House, London (2016) and ‘In and Out of Space’ (a public commission at 90 Piccadilly) London (2015). Selected group exhibitions include: ‘Fibra Residency Show’, Von Goetz Art, London (2019); ‘Mademoiselle (37 Women Artists)’, CRAC Centre Regional d Art Contemporain Occitanie, Sete, France (2018); ‘From Selfie to Self Expression’, Saatchi Gallery, London (2017) and ‘Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick’ (curated by James Lavelle and James Putnam), Somerset House, London, (2016). Colbert has held presentations at Art Basel Hong Kong, Istanbul Art Fair, Art Basel Miami and Photo London. 


Monika Grabuschnigg (b. 1987, Austria) is a Berlin-based sculptor and mixed

media artist who completed her MA in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in

Vienna and studied as an exchange student at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and

Design in Jerusalem and in Santiago at the Universidad Católica de Chile. Using clay as her primary medium, Grabuschnigg focuses in her artistic practice on the feeling of acceleration in an increasingly augmented, anxiety-inducing and

commercialized alienating environment. Her work investigates, fragments, and

reassembles cultural phenomenons: (technological) symbols are distorted and

reconstructed into new narratives, the evidence of searching for an epistemology in a contemporary world in which our physical desires and guiding beliefs are directed

and dictated by malign algorithms. In 2018, Grabuschnigg won the Berlin Art Prize and, in 2016, she received the Young Artist Award from the Federal State Government of Vorarlberg in Austria. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Studioraum 45 cbm - Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany (2019); REITER Galerie, Leipzig, Germany (2019); and Carbon12, Dubai, UAE (2018). With respect to group exhibitions, Grabuschnigg has recently exhibited in ‘The Garden Bridge’, Brücke Museum, Berlin, German (2019); ‘Nightshades’, Polansky Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic (2019); ‘Berlin Art Prize Nominees Exhibition’, The Shelf, Berlin (2018); ‘What satisfaction could you possibly have’, Carbon12, Dubai (2018); ‘A Strong Desire’, PS120, Berlin (2018); and ‘Haptic House’, Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Berlin (2018).


Zsófia Keresztes(b. 1985, Budapest, Hungary) is a Budapest-based artist who completed her fine art studies in 2010 at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in Budapest. She makes sculptures that speculate how the real world extends into virtuality, following both a technological understanding as well as Marcel Proust’s comprehension of virtuality: memory as ‘real but not actual, ideal but not abstract’. Keresztes treats the virtual as something that is ‘as if’ it were real, establishing game theories and what-if scenarios for how digital infestation becomes incarnated, how algorithms and digital avatars manifest themselves in the world and cannibalise sensation and perception. Selected solo and two-person exhibitions include those at Gianni Manhattan, Vienna (2018); Karlin Studios, Prague (2018); Prague City Gallery, Prague (with Anna Hulačová) (2018); and Labor, Budapest (2016). Recent selected group exhibitions include: 15thLyon Biennale, Lyon, France (2019); ‘Stone Telling’, Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Vienna, Austria (2019); ‘Love Data’, 16thAlios Biennale, La Teste de Buch, France (2019); ‘Liquid Bodies’, Philara Collection, Düsseldorf, Germany (2019); ‘Streamlines of the Jungle’, MAGMA, Sf. Gheorge, Romania (2019); ‘Sunbaked Thirst with Love’, ENA Viewing Space, Budapest (2019); ‘Orient’, Galeria Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Poland (2018); ‘Jutro’, Castor Projects, London (2018); ‘Orient, Kim?’, Riga, Latvia (2018); ‘Somewhere in between’, BOZAR, Brussels (2018); ‘Haptic House’, Horse and Pony, Berlin (2018); ‘Abstract Hungary’, Künstlerhaus- Halle für Kunst und Medien, Graz (2017); ‘Endless Backup’, Futurdome, Milan (2017); ‘Textour’, Künstlerforum, Bonn (2017).


Alexi Marshall(b. 1995, London, UK) is a London-based artist who graduated from the Slade School of Art in 2018. She works in print, fabric, drawing and embroidery, investigating themes of spirituality, sexuality and womanhood. Linocut printing is a recurring medium in Marshall’s practice. Her prints and drawings convey a temporality, as lines, bodies and worlds fold into each other to create theatrical tableaux and morality plays, populated by saints and sinners. A certain kind of violence is projected as the images are scratched and carved into the medium in these labour intensive, detailed carvings. Marshallhas exhibited her work in a solo exhibition at Public Gallery, London in 2019 and in selected group shows including: ‘We Always Dance Here’, Flatland Projects, Hastings, UK (2019); ‘Pareidolia’, Space Station Gallery and Daniel Benjamin Gallery, London (2019); ‘Inaugural Exhibition’, Guts Gallery, London (2019); ‘Young Gods’, Charlie Smith, London (2019); ‘Figurative NOW’, Daniel Benjamin Gallery, London (2018); and Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool and South London Gallery, London (2018). 


Lindsey Mendick (b. 1987, London, UK) is a London-based artist who received an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London in 2017. Mendick’s practice is hinged to her skilled work in ceramics, which she describes being drawn to for its tactile nature and its desire to be manipulated by the maker. She also embraces banner painting, sewing, metalwork, furniture making and sound within her autobiographical practice. By playfully combining low culture iconography and high culture methods of construction, Mendick creates humorously decadent and elaborate installations that enable the viewer to explore their personal history in a cathartic fashion. As well as her solo sculptural practice, Mendick is a co-founder of the Proudick platform, which is at once an artists’ collective, a project space and a place for exchanging ideas and learning about ceramics. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: ‘Regrets, I’ve Had a Few’, SPACE, Ilford, UK (2019-2020); ‘Of all the things I’ve lost’ (with Paloma Proudfoot), Ballon Rouge Club, Brussels (2019); ‘The Ex Files’, Castor Projects, London (2019); ‘The Turnpike Pottery’, The Turnpike, Leigh (2018); ‘Perfectly Ripe’, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2018); ‘PROUDICK’ (with Paloma Proudfoot), Hannah Barry Gallery, London (2018); ‘Jamie Fitzpatrick and Lindsey Mendick’, Vitrine, Basel (2018); and ‘She’s Really Nice When You Get To Know Her’, Visual Arts Center, Austin, Texas (2016).Selected group exhibitions include: ‘Survey’, Jerwood Space, London (2018); ‘Something Else’, Triumph Gallery, Moscow (2018); ‘Rhapsodies’, Ping Pong, Brussels (2018); ‘If You Can’t Stand the Heat’, Roaming Projects, London (2018); ‘Flipside’, Fold Gallery, London (2018); ‘You See Me Like a UFO’, Marcelle Joseph Projects, Ascot (2017); ‘Herland’, Bosse & Baum, London (2017); ‘In Dark Times’, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2017); ‘You Were High When I Was Doomed’, IMT Gallery, London (2017); and ‘Sell Yourself’, Patrick Studios, Leeds (2017). 


Florence Peakeis a London-based artist who has been making work since 1995. Her performance practice uses drawing, painting and sculpture combined with found and fabricated objects placed in relation to the moving body. Site and audience, live and recorded text, wit and candour are key to her work, which has been presented internationally and across the UK. She was the recipient of the Jerwood Choreographic Research Award in 2016.She makes solo and group performance works intertwined with an extensive visual art practice. A selection of recent exhibitions includes: ‘Apparition Apparition’ (with Eve Stainton) in ‘Meetings on Art’, 58thInternational Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2019); ‘Empathy Hole’, Bosse and Baum, London (2019); ‘RITE: On This Pliant Body We Slip Our Wow!’, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, UK (2018); ‘DO DISTURB Festival’, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2018); ‘Andromedan Sad Girl’ (a collaborative exhibition with Tai Shani), Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK (2017), ‘RITE’, Studio Leigh, London (2017), ‘We perform I am in love with my body’, Bosse and Baum, London (2017); ‘Walled Gardens in an Insane Eden’, Sara Zanin Gallery, Rome (2017); ‘The Keeners’, SPACE, London (2016); ‘Voicings’, Serpentine Gallery Offsite Project, London (2016); ‘Lay me down’, NoTT Dance Festival, Nottingham, UK and Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK (2015); ‘Swell the Thickening Surface of’, Hayward Gallery, London (2014); ‘MAKE’, BALTIC, Gateshead, UK (2013) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, UK (2012); ‘REMAKE’, Baltic 39, Gateshead, UK (2012) and Lanchester Gallery, Coventry, UK (2012); and ‘Paper Portraits’, National Portrait Gallery, London (2010).


Paloma Proudfoot(b.1992, London, UK) is a London-based artist who received an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London in 2017 after studying at Edinburgh College of Art. Proudfoot’s practice includes a variety of media, ranging from sculpture to performance. Textile and organic matter, such as clay, are common materials appearing in her body of work, seemingly playful but at the same time reflecting and discussing current topics of her own generation. As well as her solo sculptural practice, Proudfoot is co-director of the performance group Stasis and co-founder of the Proudick platform, which is at once an artists’ collective, a project space and a place for exchanging ideas and learning about ceramics. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: ‘CURING’, Sans Titre, Paris (2019); ‘A History of Scissors’, Soy Capitan, Berlin (2019); ‘A Quick Descent’  Art Berlin Fair with Soy Capitan, Berlin (2018); ‘The Detachable Head Serves as a Cup’, Cob Gallery, London (2018); ‘PROUDICK’ (with Lindsey Mendick), Hannah Barry Gallery, London (2018); ‘The Clean Carcass of the Host’ (with George Rouy for Condo Mexico), Marso Galeria, Mexico City (2018); ‘The Thinking Business’ (with Rebecca Ounstead), The Royal Standard, Liverpool (2017); and ‘There’s One Missing From Your Bunch’, May Projects, London (2016). Selected group exhibitions include: ‘Cet élixir’, Moly Sabata, Sablons, France (2019); ‘SM’, Sans Titre, Marseille (2018); ‘Something Else’, Triumph Gallery, Moscow (2018); ‘Rhapsodies’, Ping Pong, Brussels (2018); ‘Becoming Plant’, Tenderpixel, London (2018); ‘Towards a Theory of Powerful Things’, Rod Barton, London (2018); ‘Chambre Dix’, Sans Titre, Paris (2018); ‘Terra’, Lamb Arts, London (2018); ‘Ripe’, Kingsgate Workshops, London (2018); ‘If You Can’t Stand the Heat’, Roaming Projects, London (2018); ‘Doing it in Public’, Beaconsfield Gallery, London (2017); and ‘Herland’, Bosse and Baum, London (2017). Proudfoot has participated in the Thun Ceramic Residency (2018), the Moly Sabata – Albert Gleizes Foundation Residency (2019) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art Residency (with her performance group, Stasis).


Megan Rooney(b. 1985, Canada) is a London-based Canadian artist who completed her MA in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College in London in 2011 after finishing her BA at the University of Toronto in Canada and growing up between South Africa, Brazil and Canada. Rooney works across a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, installation, performance and language. With a striking signature style, Rooney develops enigmatic and always intense narratives. She draws the subjects of her works directly from her own life and surroundings. These are fanciful and, in some cases, grotesque everyday experiences, as well as sometimes humorous observations, which she always first ‘jots down’ as drawings. A recurring element in Rooney’s work is the human body, which can be seen as the subjective starting point and final ‘place’ of sedimentation for all these experiences. Rooney has upcoming solo exhibitions in 2020 at Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg Austria; Drei, Cologne, Germany; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto. Recent solo exhibitions include those at SALTS, Basel (2019); Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf (2019); Drei, Cologne (2018); Tramway, Glasgow (2017); Cordova, Vienna (2017); Freymond Guth Fine Arts, Basel (2017); Division Gallery, Toronto (2017); Seventeen, London (2016); and Croy Nielsen, Berlin (2016). Recent group exhibitions include: 15thLyon Biennial, Lyon, France (2019); ‘Paint, also known as Blood’, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (2019); ‘Childhood. Another Banana Day for the Perfect Fish’, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018); and ‘(X) A Fantasy’, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2017). Recent performances by Rooney include: ‘Everywhere Been There, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (2019); ‘Sun Down Moon Up’, Park Nights 2018, Serpentine Gallery, London (2018); ‘Others got wings for flying’, Tramway, Glasgow (2017); ‘Poor Memory, Without Poetry Nothing is Possible’, Venice Biennale, Salon Suisse, Venice (2017); ‘f on your tongue’, Project 1049, LUMA Foundation, Glacier 3000 Tissot Peak Walk, Gstaad, Switzerland (2016); ‘Last Days. Last Days. Last Days’, Serpentine Galleries, London (2015); and ‘Poetry Sets’, Cell Project Space, London (2015).


Eve Stainton is a movement artist inspired by the complexities of uncodeable, poetic queer encounters. This manifests through practices of dancing/digital collage/connecting with community/skewing edges. Her/their movement approaches are informed by somatic philosophies and favour imaginative textures over prescribed shapes layered onto the body. Stainton’s practice often takes the form of intimate collaborations exploring desire and vulnerability as a technology or force against restrictive normative constructs. Since 2016, Stainton has also been collaborating with artist Florence Peake, with their most recent work ‘Apparition Apparition’ being commissioned for the Venice Biennale 2019. Some other notable presentations include: Nottingham Contemporary (2019), Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Theatre (2019), The Place Theatre, London (2018), Royal Academy of Art, London (2018), Tangente Theatre Montreal, Canada (2017), Siobhan Davies Dance, London (2018), Hayward 50th Anniversary event, London (2018), PS/Y’s ‘Hysteria’ programme, London (2018), and Adelaide Fringe, Australia (2017). Stainton has also performed for the following artists: Anthea Hamilton at Tate Britain, London (2018); Last Yearz Interesting Negro/Jamila Johnson-Small at the ICA, London (2017); and Compagnie ECO’s international tour (2016-17) and has modelled on a freelance basis in the fashion and commercial industry for Vivienne Westwood, Dior, London/Paris/Shanghai Fashion Week, Goldfrapp and Holly Blakey. Stainton also leads movement workshops, recently at Tate Britain as part of 'Queer & Now', using fantasy and touch as a way to experience a shared confidence, power and ownership of the body to erupt and expose queer potential.


About the Curator


Marcelle Joseph is a London-based American independent curator and collector. In 2011, Joseph founded Marcelle Joseph Projects, a nomadic curatorial platform that has produced 36 exhibitions in the UK and the rest of Europe, featuring the work of over 200 international artists. Joseph's expertise is in early career artists based in the UK, in particular, female-identifying and non-binary artists, and has an academic specialization in feminist art practice after completing an MA in Art History with Distinction from Birkbeck, University of London. In 2013, she executive edited Korean Art: The Power of Now (Thames & Hudson), a survey of the contemporary art scene in South Korea. Additionally, Joseph is a trustee of Matt’s Gallery, London and served on the jury of the 2017-2019 Max Mara Art Prize for Women, in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery and Collezione Maramotti, and the Mother Art Prize 2018. She also collects artworks by female-identifying artists under the collecting partnership, GIRLPOWER Collection, as well as more generally as part of the Marcelle Joseph Collection. Throughout 2020, Joseph will act as Curatorial Consultant for Lychee One, a commercial gallery located in East London.