Not Just the Perfect Moments

Kate Davis (1977 - )

digital pigment fine art print on paper

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    Not Just The Perfect Moments, a digital print by Kate Davis, explores as its subject the late British feminist photographer, writer and therapist, Jo Spence (1934-1992). Diagnosed with breast cancer, Spence documented each stage of her illness and treatment, challenging idealised representations of the female body and stereotypical associations of women within the domestic sphere.  

    In this print, Davis transforms a copy of Spence’s book, Putting Myself in the Picture (1986) into a camera, with its lens taking the place of the eye of the young Spence featured on the book cover. The graphics of the cover are shown in reverse, as if the camera is photographing a reflection of itself in an unseen mirror. The camera sits on archival filing boxes, just like those used in the Glasgow Women’s Library.

    This work is one of 21 prints commissioned in 2012 by the Glasgow Women’s Library to mark the library’s 21st anniversary. Making Spence and her autobiographical body of work the subject of her work, Davis emphasises Spence’s immense contribution to the debate around the use and production of images, especially of female bodies. The title of the print derives from a quote by Spence first published in Spare Rib Reader in 1968:

    What we need to do with our own pictures and with our own self image, if you like, is to shift the emphasis back to a point where we understand that everything we do as women has a validity – not just the perfect moments.

  • About the artist
    Born in 1977 in New Zealand, Kate Davis lives and works in Glasgow. Working in a range of media including film, video, drawing, printmaking, installation and bookworks, her work explores and challenges the presentation of history and memory in, as she says, ‘an attempt to reconsider what certain histories could look, sound and feel like.’ She is a Visiting Lecturer at Glasgow School of Art. Davis has had numerous solo exhibitions in the UK and abroad including shows in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cologne, Berlin, Mexico and New Zealand. Group exhibitions that have featured her work include 'Chips and Egg' (The Sunday Painter, London, 2019); the 35th Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival (2018); 'Class Reunion' (MUMOK, VIenna, 2018); and 'Art Under Attack' (Tate Britain, 2013).
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  • Details
    Not Just the Perfect Moments
    Number 10 in an edition of 20
    digital pigment fine art print on paper
    height: 40.5 cm; width: 31.8 cm
    Purchased from Glasgow Women's Library, with funds raised from print sales from the Robson Orr TenTen Award, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission, March 2020
    verso: inscribed 'Kate Davis ' Not Just the Perfect Moments' / 10/20 / 2012', bottom left
    Glasgow Women's Library, Glasgow, UK; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection
    GAC number