Pauline Cooke - Change the Subject!


Trapezium Gallery were pleased to present Change the Subject! by Pauline Cooke an exhibition of paintings, prints and textiles, exploring perceptions of the human body, when it is undergoing a period of change. The aim is to reveal, not how the body is viewed from a surface perspective by others, but how it is internally felt and understood.




It takes as its starting point the iconic medical diagram of the female reproductive system and other images from medical information leaflets relating to the female body throughout the life course, with particular reference to ageing and the menopause. These images are then subverted to show how the natural internal changes in the body and various medical procedures are experienced in subjective consciousness. Flat, fragmented images highlight the opposing intimacy and alienation involved in experiencing the body as it grows older and potentially requires treatment.


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"The main creative idea is to take the representation of women’s bodies in medical diagrams and relate this to the felt experience of inhabiting a body in which changes are taking place. The menopause, in particular, effects every part of a women’s body and can provoke a complete change in life style and personality. But it is also a subject regarded as distasteful, which women are expected to experience quietly and without fuss. I wanted to explore the physical and mental health changes experienced by women in this period and to create a body of work which raises awareness and challenges accepted norms and taboo.

My aim is to combine the clinical diagrammatic style of graphic design used in medical literature with the gestural activity of painting and sewing as a symbol of lived experience. The body, which should be known better than anything else in the external world, turns out to be a distant, unconnected, mystery, over which we seem to have very little control."

- Pauline Cooke

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    28th January to 18th February 2023


   Pauline Cooke



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