Marina Warner: In Conversation with Louisa Buck | London

6 December 2022 

To mark the opening of On Sexuality: Helen Chadwick & Penny Slinger, celebrated novelist, historian, and critic Marina Warner introduces her latest book Helen Chadwick: The Oval Court (Afterall Books) in conversation with art critic Louisa Buck.


In 1986 the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London showed On Mutability, a new, two-part commission by the artist Helen Chadwick (1954–1996). The installation interwove some of Chadwick’s characteristic motifs – the female body (her own), the aesthetics of pleasure, the material variety and wonder of natural phenomena – and approached them in a spirit of provocative, radical and lavish flamboyance.


During the talk, Marina Warner will examine The Oval Court, one part of the ICA commission. Despite being recognised as a feminist monument of rare intensity, this work has rarely been shown or discussed since the author's catalogue essay for the original exhibition. Exploring The Oval Courts's richly layered composition, Warner will show how Chadwick's imagination has shaped many artists' ideas and ethics, and how she helped to shift conventional aesthetics and transvalue despised, even abominated forms.


This event is now fully booked.


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Marina Warner is a celebrated novelist, historian, and critic. She is the author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, and many other books. Awarded the Holberg Prize in the Arts and Humanities and made a DBE in 2015, she is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London, a Distinguished Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy.


Louisa Buck is a British art critic and contemporary art correspondent for The Art Newspaper. She was a jurist for the 2005 Turner Prize. She is also the author of a number of books on contemporary art, artists and the art world.