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a while back, rub my back


Goldsmiths College, University of London

by Hattie Godfrey
with Rosa Brentnall

A While Back Rub My Back is a durational performance and mixed-media installation that was presented in the Ben Pimlott Building at Goldsmiths College (University of London) as part of the BA Fine Art Degree Show 2018. Lasting 27hrs and 30 mins over the course of four days, the work brings together writing, performance and installation in its exploration of the artists own experiences of comorbidity, with a particular focus on depression, urinary health and body dysmorphia.

The work is split into two distinct spaces, one, a stale waiting room with wipeable chairs, carpet tiles and a broken wall clock, and the other a wooden container, seen into only through a set of blinds. The artist's body exists behind these blinds, upon a yellow treatment bed. At times she is curled into a snail position, the weight of her body on her shoulders as her feet fall towards the floor. At other moments we find her lying flat, her stomach deflated by the weight of a large rock. Every few hours she is visited by a figure who performs oppressive acts of care; dressing her, rearranging her,  placing the weight of the rock upon her and finally, embracing her. When the artist is not present, a bedpan lies on the yellow treatment bed, its smooth descending curve echoing the artist's crushed belly.

A piece of writing was presented as part of this installation, in the form of a wrinkled newspaper lying in the waiting room. To access this piece of writing please contact Hattie directly at

Photography by Christopher Bond

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