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Peep Show: An illusion cut to the measure of desire

As part of this year’s Light After Dark Film Festival, Bonington Gallery is pleased to present Peep Show, an innovatively staged exhibition of archival film curated by feminist collective Invisible Women.

Only visible through spyholes in the outer perimeter walls of Bonington Gallery; Peep Show brings together a series of archival film fragments that explore the interaction between spectator and subject, eye and body —across the history of film.

Weaving together extracts from early films by women working at the cutting edge of the emerging artform—including Alice Guy Blache, Germaine Dulac and Lois Weber—this innovatively staged exhibition reflects how the medium’s conventions have been shaped by the eyes behind the camera.

Over the course of its transformation from novelty to artform, cinema has continually drawn on its peep show roots to captivate, titillate, and absorb. By drawing inspiration from quietly subversive, once-forgotten work made by early women filmmakers, Peep Show also invites us to question who has shaped this cinematic language, offering a playful potential subversion to dominant aesthetic conventions.

Beware—sometimes this peep show looks back.

Curated by Invisible Women Archive. In collaboration with Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University.

Image credit: Suspense (1913) directed by Lois Webster.