'Hey You There, Flower Girl': Exploring this New Exhibition
Hey You There, Flower Girl explores the highly gendered ideals of weddings, in which people are defined not by who they are, but by the role they are expected to play in the spectacle. These titles and roles can perpetuate outdated ideologies without any of the players being conscious of it. Rebecca Persic uses gentle humour and nostalgia to pose questions of intention and contemporary tradition.
The viewer is welcomed in the foyer of The Lobby by a portrait of the artist as flower girl, emphasising the role performance has in this exhibit. Rebecca works within the performance art space, and begins her works by embodying a character. In this case, it is the nostalgic pre teen idea of the flower girl, adorable and precocious, hyper feminine. She then acts out this role in an empty church for a video installation, complete with rose petals and a completely predictable soundtrack of people coo-ing over her cuteness.
The piece in the exhibition which was spent the most time with by attendees was the photo book. In it, Persic superimposes herself as flower girl on the wedding party photos of at least a dozen photos of the last century.
What is most interesting about this is that the wedding is completely separate from the marriage. The happiness of the couples is of little to no importance, rather we are drawn to the way they embody the role they have been given within the ceremony. This redirection of focus is even more marked in the video installation, where no other figure is present besides that of the flower girl.
This is a timely exhibition to mark a year since the legalisation of same sex marriage in Australia. With the definitions of marriage changing, it is an appropriate time to rethink the way we get married, the roles we adapt and meanings inherent in the ceremony. These are just some of the important questions raised by the artist in this exhibition.