Martha Rosler

Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975
Screening Room


ABOUT THE WORK

Semiotics of the Kitchen adopts the form of a parodic cooking demonstration in which, Rosler states, "An anti-Julia Child replaces the domesticated 'meaning' of tools with a lexicon of rage and frustration." In this performance-based work, a static camera is focused on a woman in a kitchen. On a counter before her are a variety of utensils, each of which she picks up, names and proceeds to demonstrate, but with gestures that depart from the normal uses of the tool. In an ironic grammatology of sound and gesture, the woman and her implements enter and transgress the familiar system of everyday kitchen meanings — the securely understood signs of domestic industry and food production erupt into anger and violence. In this alphabet of kitchen implements, states Rosler, "when the woman speaks, she names her own oppression."

This work repositions the domestic setting, highlighting the politics of the body in the kitchen and in our cooking.


BIO

Martha Rosler is an American artist. She works in photography and photo text, video, installation, sculpture and performance, as well as writing about art and culture. Rosler's work is centered on everyday life and the public sphere, often with an eye to women's experience. Recurrent concerns are the media and war, as well as architecture and the built environment, from housing and homelessness to places of passage and systems of transport. Solo exhibitions of Rosler's work have been organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1977), Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1987), Museum of Modern Art in Oxford (1990), The New Museum in collaboration with the International Center of Photography in New York, (1998–2000), Sprengel Hannover Museum (2005), Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (2006), University of Rennes (2006), and Portikus in Frankfurt (2008).

Martha Rosler was born in 1943. She lives and works in New York.