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The Skirt Chronicles #8
Close-up

The Skirt Chronicles #8

The Skirt Chronicles isn’t easily defined as a magazine—its unique character is built on the variety of topics and moods it brings together each issue. Which makes it an ideal subject for our latest Close-up extract. If you’ve overlooked the magazine before, perhaps this will intrigue you!

 

 

The eighth issue of the Paris-based magazine leads with a fashion shoot starring Charlotte Rampling (also on the cover, above); elsewhere there are conversations and interviews with artists and translators, a cake recipe and poetry, all presented with classic typography on different paper stocks.

The combination of stories is built on the working relationship of the three friends behind the magazine: Editors Haydée Touitou and Sofia Nebioli and Art director Sarah de Mavaleix. They immediately selected the following text for our excerpt.

Haydée explains, ‘Rose Higham-Stainton got in touch with us as we were wrapping up issue seven, and told us about her thesis project for the Royal College of Art—‘Three Graces, and Voids’. We have always made space for academic work in the publication and we were so happy Rose got in touch with a text version of her thesis.’

In typical Skirt Chronicles fashion, the story opens on a right-hand page—facing the last page of the previous story—and runs for eight pages, solid text without illustration, a piece to be read.

 

 

Over to Rose…


Three Graces, and Voids is a reappraisal of femininity through the prism of the three Graces from Greek mythology. Drawing on art, literature, music and autobiography, this text considers how the Graces elicit the bind of Western femininity—ideals of youth, beauty, and abundance—and what they leave unsung. Over time, the Graces appeared to me, and were revealed in the versions and cyphers that I made of them. Anxious, lost, desperate they beckoned me close, and I embraced them. Through direct address, I speak to them now, as other women have spoken to me and hope to give them voice. And in the spirit of gaining a voice, this project, from which this fragment bears just some of its breaths and surfaces, is alive and regenerating and growing new limbs, follicles, and teeth.

 
Three umbrellas—steel, paint, rope, concrete blocks, sandbags—are positioned in the gallery on heavy poles with laden feet. One is swung this way, another that. Each of them is turning from white to yellow and is capped with a wimple—for the admission of air and resistance of rain —and fluted with a skirt tied at the waist with a ragged sash. Beneath the skirt is a plastic bag containing an unfinished Coke bottle, a crumpled cigarette pack, and a dying rose.

The Three Graces (2019) by artist Megan Rooney is a readymade jest. Assuming we know a version of you—Thalia, Euphrosyne, and Aglaea—as minor figures of myth and the subject of Canova’s marble and Botticelli’s paint, sad umbrellas are your comic stand-in. There is some semblance of your myth in the trialectic form and reductive tone of alabaster, only you are larger, and droopier, and so fall short of all those great claims about femininity.

You are the familiar at odds, and I am reminded of Amy Sillman when she says “Just having a body is a daily comedy.”

Rooney’s practice also comprises painting—straight onto walls in unremitting tones of flesh and flowers and fresh rouge. She stains portraits with black teary eyes, co-opts quotidien objects like shopping trolleys and abandons them in the gallery, and gives rubbish cans mouths. Her work equates material contingencies—displaced things, leaking paint—with the contingencies of bodies, mainly women’s. But it is through the reimagining of your sacred trinity, as a body ill at ease, that Rooney reminds us just how defunct the myth about women is.

 

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