Tate Modern Talk

Mary Kelly in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist

Mary Kelly, Circa 1968

Mary Kelly, Circa 1968 - detail

As part of the curated conversation programme On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Period of Time, Mary Kelly talks to curator, critic, art historian and prolific writer Hans Ulrich Obrist as they explore what defines an era.

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Mary Kelly in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist


Mary Kelly is known for her project-based work, and has for more than four decades addressed questions of sexuality, identity and historical memory in the form of large-scale narrative installations. In 1968, she began her long-term critique of conceptualism, informed by the feminist theory of the early women’s movement, in which she was actively involved throughout the 1970s. She is perhaps best known for Post-Partum Document (1973-79), a six-year diaristic exploration of the mother and child relationship. Now part of the Tate Collection, Post-Partum Document was first shown at the ICA in London in 1976 and provoked a scandal in the press. Each of the six-part series concentrates on a formative moment in her son’s mastery of language and her own sense of loss, moving between the voices of the mother, child and analytic observer.

Since then, Kelly’s work has continued to investigate the convergence of the personal and the political in world events of today. This rare opportunity to hear Mary Kelly discuss her work will open up themes and exchanges that have vibrated through Kelly’s four-decade career, as well as provoking and interrogating the contemporary issues that are absorbed in her work today, such as collective memory and political unconscious.

This event is part of an extended conversation On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Period of Time curated by Mary Kelly including an online discussion with invited participants and a repository of selected interviews, images and texts.

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

22 May 2015 at 18.30–20.00