Johanna Billing, In Purple, HD 12’00”, Film still, 2019

Events Programme

Screening: Thursday 14 November, 7–9pm
London Women’s Film Group’s Women of Rhondda, 1973 and The Amazing Equal Pay Show, 1974

In the Women of Rhondda four women speak about their lost career dreams and narrate their daily lives in a coal-mining area of South Wales in the 1920s, when the industry was riven by several strikes, including the general strike of 1926. The four women draw a parallel between women’s ‘slavery’ in the home and men as slaves to the mine owners.

The Amazing Equal Pay Show was made in cooperation with the Women’s Street Theatre Group who originally wrote and performed the play in 1972. The film incorporates elements from musical, horror film and comedy to closely examine the Labour Government’s 1970 Equal Pay Act, women’s participation in unions, women as both waged and unwaged workers, and, more broadly, the status of women’s work under capitalist relations of production.

Workshop: This event has been postponed. New date TBC.
Reading for Work, Reading for Pleasure led by Laura Guy

The workshop will introduce strategies for collective reading and annotation. We will use these to discuss the exchange between form and content in feminist manifestos that concentrate on social reproduction as it pertains to family, compulsory heterosexuality and sex.

To reserve a place for the workshop, please email us at

Only nothing

Jennifer Bailey | Johanna Billing | Natasha A. Kelly | Manual Labours | Tanja Ostojić | Dawn Youll

2 November – 8 December 2019
Thursday – Monday, 11am–5pm or by appointment

Preview on Friday 1 November, 8–10pm

Rhubaba presents Only nothing*, a group exhibition that speaks of desire, love and devotion to one’s (art) work as creation and a necessary emancipatory intervention – and the inevitable commodification of these affects and practices.

The exhibition explores political struggles, moments and objects of ‘‘self-realisations’’ found in and against the art world; ideas, mythologies and histories of artistic creation and self expression. Such ideas are confronted by the understanding of art as feminised labour, and of artists as workers constrained by, and contributing to, existing systemic inequalities. Only nothing sets out to interrogate these seemingly unresolvable paradoxes by framing them within the context of gendered, racialised, heteronormative capitalist totality.

Only nothing consists of new work by Glasgow-based ceramicist Dawn Youll, video works from Johanna Billing and Natasha A. Kelly, sculpture by Jennifer Bailey, works by Tanja Ostojić, publications and a new podcast from Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards aka Manual Labours, as well as newly commissioned contributions to Rhubaba’s resource reader from writers Angela Dimitrakaki and Laura Guy. Art works in the exhibition are displayed on a supporting structure developed by Oisin Gallagher, with assistance from Eleanor McCullough.

*[…] Respect whatever pain you bring back
from your dreaming
but do not look for new gods
in the sea
nor in any part of a rainbow.

Each time you love
love as deeply
as if it were forever
only nothing is eternal. […]

– Audre Lorde, For Each of You, 1970

Additional Information

Jennifer Bailey (b. 1984 in Beckenham, UK) lives in London, UK and works between London and Glasgow. She graduated from the MFA programme at Glasgow School of Art in 2013. Her work is concerned with the permeability of art production to patriarchal structures, desire, capital and paid work. Solo exhibitions include: Will I Make a Good Father, Mother, Sister?, Collective, Edinburgh, UK, 2016; A Brief History of Girliness, Space in Between, London, UK, 2016. Group exhibitions include: Bone Meal, Hidden Gardens, Tramway, Glasgow, UK, 2018; Mood is Made/Temperature is Taken, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow, UK, 2014. Outside of her art practice, Bailey writes and works in education.

Johanna Billing (Jönköping, Sweden, 1973; lives and works in Stockholm) has been making video works since 1999 that weave together music, movement and rhythm. Merging the production modes of collective live events and workshops with a cinematic language, Billing in part directs the participants and in part activates a series of improvisations around the notion of performance and the possibility it holds to explore issues of the public and the private as well as the individual in the society as a whole. Billing often addresses political climates and cultural specificities, but more importantly she transforms, through a documentary method, her filmmaking in a fictive space to examine actual and contrived events and how that filmed compression illuminates their overlap. Billing’s films often involve music, which in her hands becomes a tool for communication, memory and reconstruction.

Recent major solo exhibitions include Keeping Time, Villa Croce, Genova, 2016, I’m Gonna Live Anyhow until I Die, the MAC, Belfast (2012); I’m Lost without Your Rhythm, Camden Art Centre (2009); Taking Turns, Kemper Museum, Kansas City; This Is How We Walk on the Moon, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2008); Forever Changes, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Keep on Doing, DCA, Dundee (2007) and Magical World, PS. 1, New York (2006). She has participated in survey shows such as 4th Auckland Triennial, Last Ride in a Hot Balloon, Auckland (2010); Documenta 12, Kassel (2007); Belief, Singapore Biennale (2006); 9th Istanbul Biennial; 1st Moscow Biennale (2005); 50th Venice Biennale (2003). From 1998 until 2010 Johanna also ran the Make it Happen record label, publishing music and arranging live performances.

Natasha A. Kelly has a PhD in Communication Studies and Sociology with a research focus on colonialism and feminism. Born in the UK and bred in Germany the author, curator and lecturer has taught at numerous universities in Germany and Austria. As Research Assistant at the Centre for transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Humboldt-University Berlin (2010 – 2013) she dealt with the decoloniality of knowledge, power and beings. In her publications Afroism (2008), Sisters & Souls (2015), Afrokultur (2016) and in her artworks she combines theory and praxis at the intersection of academia, art and society. In addition to her consulting work for various art institutions, she was the artistic director of the theater series M(a)y Sister, which was performed at the HAU Hebbel am Ufer Theater in Berlin from 2015 to 2018. Her award-winning debut film Milli’s Awakening (2018) was commissioned by the 10th Berlin Biennale and screened in national and international settings including Museum of Modern Art MMK Frankfurt, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Kirchner Museum Davos as well at venues throughout Europe, Australia and in the USA. The eponymous publication is available at Orlanda Frauenverlag Berlin. Her youngest book is a collection of German translations of the foundational Black Feminists (from Sojourner Truth to Kimberlé Crenshaw) and marks the first in a new series of Black Feminist Readers published by Unrast Verlag Münster.

Manual Labours is a research project exploring physical and emotional relationships to work, initiated by Jenny Richards and Sophie Hope. This project reconsiders current time-based structures of work (when does work start and end?) and reasserts the significance of the physical (manual) aspect of immaterial, affective and emotional labour.

Jenny Richards is a freelance curator and writer based in London and Stockholm whose research focuses on the politics of collaborative practices. In 2012 Jenny completed an MA in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths University. Prior to this she worked as Programme Manager of the Collective Gallery in Edinburgh, working with artists and audiences on long term projects of mutual interest including Jesse Jones’ Against the Realm of the Absolute (2011); Tessa Lynch’s Alexandrite (2010); Aleksandra Mir’s The How Not to Cookbook (2009).

Sophie Hope’s practice based research focuses on the relationships between art and society. She has worked as an independent curator (B+B), a writer and evaluator of public and socially engaged art and is now a full-time academic in the Film, Media and Cultural Studies Department at Birkbeck, University of London. Sophie has developed practical projects through which to research cultural policy, labour conditions and community art histories. These include a three-year participant-led investigation into socially engaged art and a large-scale community performance in a Dutch new town. Her PhD, ‘Participating in the Wrong Way? Practice Based Research into Cultural Democracy and the Commissioning of Art to Effect Change’ explored the limits and possibilities of criticality in the context of an artists’ contract.

Tanja Ostojić (*1972 Yugoslavia) is Berlin-based performance and interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator. She uses diverse media in her artistic practice, thereby examining feminist issues, power relationships, social configurations, racisms, economy, and bio-politics, among others. She includes herself as a character in performances and works predominantly from the migrant woman’s perspective, while political positioning and ethical participation define the approaches of her work.

Since 1994 she has presented her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions and festivals worldwide, including: Lexicon of Tanja Ostojić, MoCA Belgrade Salon (2017); Feminism is Politics!, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York (2016); Busan Biennale, South Korea (2016); HOMOSEXUALITY_IES, Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin (2015); Athens Biennale (2013); Economy, CCA Glasgow (2013); Tanja Ostojić: Body, Politics, Agency, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana (2012); Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2011); Frederic Jameson Gallery, Duke University, Durham, NC (2011); Integration Impossible? Politics of Migration in the Artwork of Tanja Ostojić 2000-07, Kunstpavillon Innsbruck, Austria (2008); Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2006); and Plato of Humankind, Venice Biennale (2001).

Ostojić has performed at, among others: 7a*11d – International Festival of Performance Art, Toronto, Canada (2016); Volksbühne Berlin (2016); KRASS Festival, Kampnagel, Hamburg (2010 and 2016); Live action, Gothenburg, Sweden (2015); Préavis de Désordre Urbain, Marseille (2013); Spoken World Festival, Kaaitheater Brussels (2010); Re.act.feminism, AdK, Berlin, and Performa New York (2009); ICA, London (1999); and Manifesta 2, Luxembourg (1998).

Ostojić’s work maintains a high level of theoretical reference and has been acquired by a growing number of museum collections. She has given talks, lectures, workshops, and seminars at academic conferences and at art universities around Europe and in the Americas. She has published several books, including: Lexicon of Tanjas Ostojić, ed. by Ostojić (LADA, London, 2018); Integration Impossible? The Politics of Migration in the Artwork of Tanja Ostojić, ed. by Ostojić and M. Gržinić (argobooks, Berlin, 2009); Strategies of Success/Curators Series, ed. by Ostojić (La Box, Bourges & SKC, Belgrade, 2004).

Dawn Youll is a ceramicist living and working in Glasgow. The urban landscape, the studio environment and the making process itself all find their way into her ceramic sculptures. By combining forms, colours and surfaces she creates curious compositions on a domestic scale to communicate, celebrate and make sense of the world around us. Dawn’s work has featured in numerous exhibitions across the UK and abroad and she has represented the UK in Denmark at the European Ceramic Context 2010 exhibition and in France at a WCC-Europe exhibition. Dawn has an MA in Ceramics from the Centre for Ceramic Studies, Cardiff (2008) and a BA in Ceramic Design from Glasgow School of Art (1999) and is represented by Marsden Woo Gallery in the UK.


This exhibition and preview are open to everyone.

If you have any accessibility requirements please let us know via and we can advise if we are able to accommodate. Please note that unfortunately Rhubaba does not have a wheelchair accessible toilet or any baby changing facilities and has one gender neutral bathroom. The gallery space is accessible by wheelchair; please email in advance (or knock!) and staff will assist with the door. Assistance dogs are welcome.