Salon Contemporary is offering emerging, innovative and passionate creatives a chance to take part in its current competitions, exhibit their work, curate shows and gain national and international exposure! We’re calling on artists from all fields including the visual arts, performance, dance, film, theatre, animation and music - so find out which competition best suits you and get applying...

'Artist of the Week: The Exhibition' showcases the first quarterly shortlisted finalists of the exciting new competition. The winning candidate will then be offered a residency in West London!


The exhibiting artists are:
Akleria * Alyona Larinova * Dragana Jurisic * Helen Gorill

Helen Gorill

Fushe Kosove Sex Cafe Chair

Artist Statement
Gorrills work looks at post-feminist concepts of power and control, investigating enforcement, reinforcement and reactions to patriarchal society.  She is particularly interested in how patriarchy has been moulded by scripts for male power, using cultural criticism of male scripts (the bible and popular culture) to challenge existing social norms.   The use of critical theory (Foucault’s regulation and control of the body in constructing power narratives; and Hegel’s slave-master dependency theories) offers a glimpse into worlds outside of texts and a map of the effects of knowledge upon identities that inform and give weight to my enquiry.
The position of the woman artist in a patriarchal society remains problematic, female artists often seen as extremists rather than activists.  Gorrill is currently working with sculpture and embroidery, the latter being a medium traditionally understood as 'feminine', devoid of the traditional values associated with masculine high art.  The art of embroidery, once the most valued cultural form of ‘medieval ecclesiastical culture’, was progressively de-professionalised, domesticated and feminised by a male dominated art world.  Rather than using the thread as metaphor for the increasing restrictions on women’s power that occurred in the development of Western history, she uses embroidery as a medium with a heritage in women’s hands, and thus as more appropriate than male-associated paint for making a feminist statement. 

Pop Confession Quilt Bag

“THE OBSERVER ON SUNDAY: "The drawings for her degree show, which reverses the female submissiveness advocated by a religious pamphlet posted through her door, put women in a dominant position while the men are bound and bent in sexual submission. The male figures have been censored but to protect whom? The spam I receive contains more indecency than Ms Gorrill's work. And it is much less interesting because she makes a valid point."
Henry Porter, 2009, in 'Britain is not radical enough'

Prosthetic Leg Installation
An Interview with Helen Gorrill

What is your signature drink?  Easy: any red wine will do.
Can you reveal a secret about your hometown?  With pleasure, I can give you a few!  I live in an isolated rural community that isn’t the rural idyll it seems. It’s mono-cultural and ruled by the small-minded.   And people don’t talk to me much because I’m a single parent and they don’t like what I do with ink nor prosthetic limbs, and I’m not the asexual being you have to be in order to be accepted into such a community!
Where is your next travel destination?  I’m going to Paris with my boyfriend in November, via Erotica 2010 in London. 
What are your top 3 desserts? (NB I like the icecream comment J): Nigella’s Pain au chocolate pudding (my speciality lol), sticky toffee pudding, and death by chocolate.
What’s most played in your music collection? Lily Allen. Mazzie Starr. Jazz.
What is your favourite song lyric and who is it by? When your halo slips for good,/ You’ll have to wear your hood...(Iain Brown)
What’s your best memory from university?  Graduating (drawing degree) with the best peer group ever. And walking out of the ensuing degree (Fine Art) because I found it the opposite of what art’s meant to be about – it was way too restrictive and repressive at my particular university. Standing up for what I believed in was the best feeling ever.
Where’s your local ‘hang out’? I live in the middle of nowhere and I’m barred from the only local pub (long story!).
What are your October 2010 highlights? I’ve done quite a lot of magazine interviews recently and my work’s going to be featured in a couple of articles, which is great to see something on paper, I’m so grateful...Work-wise, I have lots of different projects on the go: I’ll be continuing to work on my ink ‘new generation dominatrix’ paintings, I’m also making another sculptural piece with the prosthetic limbs and using embroidery in lieu of paint on huge canvas panels.
Who do you think gets the worst deal, girls or guys, and why?  In theory, girls get the worst deal because we live in a society where biological differences reinforce patriarchy; and we’re also moulded by scripts for male power (looking at the bible and much of popular culture).  I think things have shifted slightly with the rise of ‘raunch culture’, but I still believe girls have to work harder for what they want (which actually isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
How do you make the most of your womanly powers of persuasion? Ha ha. Well my studio is filled with all sorts of scary-looking props for my dominatrix paintings.
 If you could only use one word to describe yourself what would it be?  Naughty!
Which magazines do you regularly read and why?  Elle, Harpers Bazaar and Elle Deco for style, Modern Painters for art, A-N for opportunities, Skin Two for inspiration and Viz because it’s genius.