Tit For Twat

Press Releases from the Burcharest Biennale

Kaucyila Brooke Press Release

BB4 Press Release

Statements of Support []

Kaucyila Brooke's comprehensive work "Tit for Twat", having been developed since the early 1990's, is one of the seminal works in gender oriented conceptual art of the last two decades. Highly original in content and refined in its aesthetics and its use of media, for good reasons it has been shown in many places and contexts all over the world. If, as I hear, its presentation at the Geology Museum in the frame of the Bucharest Biennale 2010 will be prohibited, this would not only mean a severe case of censorship but also a very sad denial for the romanian public to see this outstanding, concise, political but at the same time warm and humorous work.

Stella Rollig
Director
Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz

Kaucyila Brooke is represented with several photographic works in the collection of MUMOK and they have been exhibited several times in recent years. We appreciate her careful and conscious work on pressing social issues, her artistic sensibility, expression, and attentive gaze. All the more incomprehensible and scandalous is it for us to find out that Kaucyila Brooke's work "Tit-for-Twat" has been censored in the framework of the Bucharest Biennale. We call on all who are responsible to reverse this outrageous step immediately and to present the work as planned to the public.

Matthias Michalka
Curator
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

Jacques Rancière claims "a new form of political subjectivity that would accept the point that we start from equality, from the idea that there is a universal competence -- that there is a universal capacity that is involved in all those experiments and that we are trying to expand -- to expand the field and the capacities of that competence." In "Tit for Twat" by Kaucyila Brooke, Madam and Eve are standing on the edge of human evolution, curiously embarking on a journey through space, time and history. Intellectually fascinated by the idea of nature, they decide to visit various historic gardens, to question the biblical assumption of heterosexuality (Adam and Eve), and to deal with their relation towards other theories of origin. Especially in a catholic country, the piece is highly provocative but don't we need provocative works in order to discuss future ways of living? In our times of passage, a time that implies a certain chaos, structures are going to disappear and the new is not yet at the horizon. Especially in uncertain times, we have to open our minds, we have to be able to asks questions, we have to show critical works and we have to discuss them - but not to exclude them. No religious or political authority can provide us with a clear definition of meaning, or communicate a socially sanctioned aspiration for the collective implementation of a utopia or a promise of redemption. Therefore, the act of censoring works (without even discussing it), is against society, is against all what contemporary art stands for today and questions the intent of the Bucharest Biennial as a whole. Believe in your audience and give them the opportunity to decide for themselves.

Bettina Steinbrügge
Co-curator of Forum Expanded/Berlin International Film Festival (D)
Associate curator of La Kunsthalle, Mulhouse (F)

Tit for Twat takes the question of gender to the "original" heterosexual drama of the Judeo-Christian world: Adam and Eve. It hit just the nerve it aims for in Bucharest, by slyly suggesting that "femininity" and "masculinity" were just as unsettled at the time of the Explusion as they are in the fondest dreams of progressives in the present. This would be a cause for celebration if it didn't mean that this major work would not reach the audience it deserves.

David Joselit
Carnegie Professor
History of Art
Yale University
PO Box 208272
New Haven, CT 06520

It is my understanding that Kaucyila Brookes epic photographic narrative, Tit for Twat, was removed from its intended venue shortly before the opening of the Bucharest Biennial, and that the action was taken because Brookes work addresses lesbian sexuality. This is censorship. This is the suppression of the work of a courageous, serious, mature, and profoundly original artist. This act of censorship is not only a professional outrage, it is so short-sighted as to be incomprehensible. An international biennial depends upon the generosity of artists and curators. It depends upon trust that professional standards in relation to artistic freedom will be maintained. The Bucharest Biennial has not only engaged in an act of outrageous suppression, but has violated the trust accorded it by a international community of artists. That breach of faith can only be repaired by getting Tit for Twat back into the Biennial without excuse or delay.

Catherine Lord
Professor, Department of Studio Art
University of California, Irvine

The censoring of celebrated artist, Kaucylia Brookes, work from the Bucharest Biennale 2010, because of its content, is extreme and highly irregular in a global art world of biennials featuring artists world wide addressing the full spectrum of issues in contemporary art. For Bucharest to be the biennale that censors a curated artist after the show had been installed is inexcusable. The Bucharest Biennale will live with the stigma of this from this point forward and the Hungarian and international art viewing public will be the poorer for it.

David Bunn
Artist
Visiting Faculty
California Institute of the Arts
Former Chair and Director of the Graduate Program in Art
University of Southern California

Kaucyila Brooke is not going back in time to rewrite the past. "Tit for twat" was there ever since the beginning of time. We never were so dumb and closeminded as we are here in Bucharest right now .
Bravo Kaucyila! And shame on us here in Bucharest where your censored work cannot be seen at the Bucharest Biennale. This policy of exclusion adds one more grotesque touch to all our claims of having a free speech democratic society. However this wrong can and should be quickly repaired.

Sanda Agalides
art historian and art critic
Bucharest and Los Angeles

Kaucyila Brooke's, "Tit for Twat," is a challenging piece of artistic literature about some of the most important topics affecting our humanity. It is a deeply thought out and literate investigation into the stability of gender categories and our deep mythopoetic narratives of origin. Some viewers will not like it, some will outright disagree. But these dissenters and others will all find wholly new dimensions of thinking about humanity's fixed categories of being. None of that can happen in the face of censorship, a form of silencing cloaked in cowardly evasiveness. The Arts are one of the very few global cultural spaces where repressions of difference may--and indeed must be--freely explored for humanity to find ways to move on, allowing discovery, discussion (however contentious), and progress towards a more tolerant world. It is a grievous blow to that future tolerance that the Bucharest Biennial has allowed Art's precious freedom to be compromised in the interest of pathetic inoffensiveness.

Ellen Birrell
Artist, Publisher and Editor
X-TRA, a Quarterly Journal of the Arts

I exhibited Kaucyila Brooke's work at our museum in 2006. The show was called "Why showing something, that one can see?" and it dealt with the phenomenon of gendered spaces. In five positions such as VALIE EXPORT, Tom Burr, Marion Porten, Kaucyila Brooke and Knut Asdam it opened a discussion on how gender is inscribed into body-language, architecture and space. Kaucyila Brooke's work took a big part of the show and her contribution on the examination of lesbian bars in Los Angeles and its region was a profound and a very important statement to the show.

Brooke's work is very direct, intelligent and smart. Besides of her technical brilliance in collage, photo and video, she has a wonderful sense of humor mixed with the very serious and important view on highly political issues such as norms of heterosexuality. She has the sense to deconstruct systems while showing and providing new views and models. "Tit for Twat" takes a big part in her artistic work. The brilliant and very humoristic picture-story develops alongside with her other projects. "Tit for Twat" is unique - The censorship on this work is one of the most shocking news of the last days. I do desperately wish, that the responsible persons for this will clear their mind and re-think a decision that seems to be lead by exactly the same standards of norms that Brooke is - besides others - questioning/discussing in her work.

Julia Schäfer
Curator
Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig, Germany