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Living Beyond Limits Exhibition at MIMA

Living Beyond Limits: Art and the Limits of Language, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, 20 October 2018 – 3 February 2019 

This exhibition is the outcome of my 2018-19 curatorial residency at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, funded by Fluxus Art Projects, co-curated with MIMA and its constituents.

To be queer is to be erased from public space and to persist, nevertheless, in making yourself heard. This exhibition queers the museum by reclaiming it as a communal and political space within which marginal voices will not be silenced.

Originally the term queer was used as an insult against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people – and still is in certain places. It was reclaimed in the 1990s by activists intent on challenging norms around gender and sexuality, rather than blend into society, in terms of identities and politics.

Living Beyond Limits showcases works from the Middlesbrough Collection by artists whose life or work deviate from long-held norms around gender and sexuality. However, in this context, queerness is more than an identity marker. The focus of this show is political and activist, and it includes themes around racism, sexism and class inequalities.

Through a programme of public workshops, discussions and zine making during 2018, Living Beyond Limits has been curated through open dialogue with local people and members of the local LGBTQIA+ community. These constituents have contributed to queered re-interpretations of works from the Middlesbrough Collection and offered perspectives related to their own identities and narratives.

By Claire Mead

Independant curator and art historian. I did my BA Art History at Oxford University and my MA in Curating at the Courtauld. Now based in Paris, I write about art, undertake independant research and curate contemporary art exhibitions and projects.

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