Future exhibition

Kate Davis: 'Nudes Never Wear Glasses'

Kate Davis, Nudes Never Wear Glasses, 2017, silver gelatin print
28 Jul 2017 - 8 Oct 2017

Nudes Never Wear Glasses is Kate Davis' first solo exhibition in Edinburgh and has been created especially for the context of Stills. Bringing together a new photographic series with drawings and recent moving image works, Nudes Never Wear Glasses includes the first gallery presentation of her Margaret Tait Award film Charity (2017).

Across mediums including moving image, drawing, photography and bookworks, Davis' practice questions how historical narratives are produced and perpetuated. This has frequently involved probing the aesthetic and political ambiguities of particular artworks, and specific historical moments, from a contemporary feminist perspective. Her latest film, Charity, was inspired by the ways in which the work of film-maker, poet and artist Margaret Tait (1918 - 1999), invites us to contemplate fundamental emotions and everyday activities that are often overlooked. Charity takes artistic representations of breastfeeding as its focus, and explores how the essential - but largely invisible and unpaid - processes we employ to care for others could be re-imagined. In seeking to 're-vision' history, Davis' artwork often references the theory and practice of photography, placing it in relation to other mediums such as drawing and the moving image. This is the case with the series of new photographic works developed and printed at Stills for this exhibition. Taking found negatives of archetypal monuments as her starting point, Davis has drawn into, and then printed, these images to redefine the subjects they commemorate. These adaptations have been made in response to a remark made by photographer, writer, artist and educator Jo Spence that 'nudes never wear glasses.' 

The works in Nudes Never Wear Glasses are displayed on three temporary, purpose-built brick walls. Whilst evoking familiar domestic and institutional boundaries, the brick walls also act as a metaphor for the histories which are shaped and hardened within and beyond those boundaries. Davis' practice persistently contests the notion of a 'hard history'; institutional walls are acknowledged here in order to claim the past as a critical and ongoing process of revisioning. 

The wall is a wall that might as well be there, because the effects of what is there are just like the effects of a wall. And yet not: if an actual wall was there, we would all be able to see it, or to touch it. And this makes an institutional wall hard. You come up against what others do not see; and (this is even harder) you come up against what others are invested in not seeing.

Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017) 

A commissioned text by Lauren Dyer Amazeen accompanies the exhibition. 

A limited edition silver gelatin print by Kate Davis will be available for sale.


Special thanks to: Dominic Paterson and Peter Davis Paterson, Ben Harman, Cheryl Connell, Evan Thomas, Luke Collins, Simon Harlow, Maria Fusco, Wayne Williamson, Sandra and Colin Davis, Wendy and Iain Paterson, Colin Macfarlane, Andy Slater. 

Image: Nudes Never Wear Glasses, silver gelatin print (2017) Kate Davis. Copyright the artist.

 Kate Davis funders logos 2017Edinburgh Art Festival logo



4 Aug 2017 - 28 Aug 2017
Slide show: 
©Steve Best
©Steve Best
©Steve Best
©Steve Best
©Steve Best
©Steve Best
©Steve Best
©Steve Best
©Steve Best

Exhibition open daily: 11am - 3.30pm 

FRINGE Comedy Performance: 4pm - 5pm each day (except 14th), FREE (non-ticketed)

Location: Stills’ Project Space (lower ground level) 

Taken from his third book, COMEDIANS BACK TO FRONT, ‘Clicking Comedians’ is a collection of fine art photographs of comedians back stage and front of stage taken by photographer and comedian Steve Best.

Steve Best’s many years on the comedy circuit has allowed him to build trust with some of the funniest people on earth. This exclusive access has given him an opportunity to take hundreds of intimate, deeply moving images from the very new comedians, the seasoned professional, to the downright famous.

Steve’s first book, COMEDY SNAPSHOT, a collection of his photographs of 427 comedians with their jokes and quirky facts, became an instant classic. ‘It’s a book designed to be dipped in and out of at random – to plunge full-in would be like guzzling all your chocolate box at once; but each morsel is deliciously rich.’ Chortle.

Its sequel, JOKER FACE will be published by Unbound and Penguin Random House this summer (exclusively available at Stills throughout the festival).

FRINGE Comedy Performance: 4pm - 5pm each day (except 14th August)

Steve Best tells his story behind the photos he’s taken of Britain’s finest stand-up comedians, the unique access into the comedy world and his Herculean efforts to turn all this into a book.

He has performed all over the world including South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bosnia, South Africa, Holland, Denmark, The Falkland Islands, and Southend on Sea. He plans to go further afield. He has been on huge nationwide tours with Frank Skinner, Craig Charles and Omid Djalili. He has been on TV (a few times). 

Further information is available on the Fringe website here


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