A Woman Holding a Liver 2016

A Woman Holding a Liver 2016


Performance, part paper, part demonstration.

On the occasion of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 9 July 2016


1 hour and 30 minutes.

Photography by Naomi Duguid, Josh Evans, Tom Gardner, Andrea Harris, Lisa Haushofer, Sarah Lo, Jane Maher, Louise Marston, Linda Roodenburg, Fiona Sinclair, and Corky White.  


A Woman Holding a Liver was conceived for, and first performed at the 2016 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, to respond to the theme of ‘Offal: Rejected and Reclaimed Foods’, and won the Prize for Best Presentation by a non-Student First-time Presenter.


The piece was in two parts, the first explored, contextually and artistically, the practice and history of haruspicy or liver divination, which outlined the ancient practice of haruspicy, discussed representations in art and material culture, and summarised the context from my perspective as an artist, particularly in relation to chance strategies in art. The second part involved the divination of a lamb’s liver. Here, I first explained my approach and system of inspection that was to be followed based on research into ancient Mesopotamian, Greek and Etruscan practices, then the inspection of a fresh lamb’s liver was conducted in response to a question collectively asked by the audience. The question was ‘Will the UK invoke article 50?’, and the answer according to the liver was ‘no’. Documentation shown here was offered by the audience after the event.




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