31st May to 30th July - Sandbar | 120 Grosvenor Street | Manchester | M1 7HL
Preview Party | DJ’s and Beer : Saturday 31st May 7pm till very late.
Exhibition open daily 12noon – 12midnight.
Sarah Hardacre’s works present collage and screen prints that feature backdrops of Salford tower blocks against the sensual curves of cut-outs from vintage magazines. Her practice is fuelled by 20th century social history interests, her fascination with the utopian ideologies of Modernism, working class social movements, sexuality and social policy.
The women presented in Sarah’s prints draw strength from fragilities and bring promise for change on a grander scale. Their natural curves and sexuality against the brutalilst concrete represent a stance against the male dominated environment, technology and politics. Just as the images of Salford’s post industrial landscape can be read as nostalgic of a lost era of optimism, her scantily clad women wistfully hark back to a time before fake tan, manicured body hair and plastic surgery; a time when erotic images were much closer to the reality of women’s bodies.
As a woman in the traditionally male dominated world of printmaking, Hardacre is able to draw upon age old ideas of social utopia and sexual revolution. Her works introduce women as empowering forces, spiritual feminising and emancipated from the mass produced world around her. In some way signifying the feminine identity of the artist, these images of women represent a retreat into fantasy; a safety valve for competence in the real world.
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The title of the exhibition ‘You Smile First’, is drawn from recent feminist writing exploring the notions of Erotic Capital and Emotional Labour in today’s service economy. Smiling is the universal sign of welcome, acceptance and cheerfulness towards others, yet this simple social skill plays an easily overlooked but crucial role in business, political, social and sexual relationships. Smile and the world smiles with you; now hold that smile for fifteen hours in the face of abuse, arrogance, insult and injury while you work your shift. Smiling suddenly becomes laborious and a frankly unequal exchange. Interestingly, all the women featured within the prints of this exhibition are models, working on a job, employing their erotic capital to full effect but the only ones smiling are the Bunny Girls in ‘Going to Work’. But rather than make a statement about the commodification of human emotions and expression, this exhibition questions and explores ever emerging trends which have dehumanising effects on the workforce and service related economies.
Hakim, Catherine (2012) Honey Money: Why attractiveness is the key to success. London: Penguin Books.
The social magic of smiles Pg. 132-133
Smiling makes almost everyone more attractive, but it works especially well for women. Feminist politics mean that women use smiles less often than they used to, both at work and in private life. Smiling has now become political. Arlie Hochschild’s dissection of the politics and economics of smiling in the airline industry now encourages many women to regard smiling as ‘emotional labour’ which they will not perform unless they are paid to do it, and maybe not even then. Like so many other staff in service occupations, airline cabin crew are asked to smile when serving customer, to be polite and charming whenever possible. Yet American women often refuse to do so. When a male customer asked an air hostess why she wasn’t smiling as she served him, she replied, ‘You smile first.’ When he did, she retorted, ‘Now hold that for the next fifteen hours,’ and walked away. The ‘liberated’ airhostess is now rude, as well as refusing to do her job as required by her employer.
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This exhibition was curated by Michael Mayhew as part of the Art Works Manchester series of shows at Sandbar: www.artworksmanchester.weebly.com