Tale of the Frozen Bits at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield, 12 February–12 March 2023, free entry - Visit now
Castlefield Gallery is starting this year’s programme of exhibitions with a brand new show – Tale of the Frozen Bits by El Morgan is opening in February.
Combining a variety of mediums, from sculpture and video to sound and text work, El Morgan uses her personal experience (including a recent £350 bill from a fertility clinic to continue to store her embryos) to explore the history of fertility drugs and the existing medical structures around the issue of fertility.
Despite the serious concepts being explored, the show maintains an air of playfulness with the artist including elements like recording the sound of her own urine or conversations with researchers on the sex lives of frogs.
A lot of Morgan’s previous work also focuses on biology, all things organic and our entanglement with other species. In her work How to rub a fish (2015 – ongoing), the artist runs workshops that explore the Japanese printing technique of Gyotaku (‘fish rubbing’) which involves inking up a fish and rubbing the imprint onto paper. Morgan uses edible squid ink, so that afterwards, all the materials can be eaten. In the series It’s getting hot in here (2018 – 2020), Morgan mimics the process of camouflaging carried out by the aquatic larvae of the caddis fly. Just like the fly, the artist uses objects from her immediate environment to camouflage herself – she takes paper, tape, foil and many other things available and sticks them to her body. In 2016 she also published an illustrated book Gossamer Days: Spiders, Humans and Their Threads examining the relationship between humans and spiders.
In Tale of the Frozen Bits, she moves away from explorations of flora and fauna to focus on humans, which is granted even more gravitas in the increasingly restrictive context of women’s reproductive rights.
You might not be expecting references to gallons of nuns’ urine, multiplying hamster cells, horse glands and millions of frogs in a show about fertility. However, alongside these ingredients, the exhibition explores our attitudes to women’s bodies and investigates the complex legal, ethical and physical considerations of the unseen history of fertility.
Tale of the Frozen Bits will be accompanied by a number of related events – go to the Castlefield Gallery website to find out more.
Tale of the Frozen Bits at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield