Young Girl Reading Group:
Coming of Age

Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Young Girl Reading Group, 2018. Image courtesy of the artists.


Public Program

Young Girl Reading Group:
Coming of Age


October 12, 6:30–9 PM

Reading Group
August 15, 6:30–9 PM

Reading Group
September 13, 6:30–9 PM

Art in General
145 Plymouth Street (Map)
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Art in General presents Young Girl Reading Group (YGRG), an ongoing performative project founded in 2013 in Berlin by the artist duo Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė. Young Girl Reading Group investigates the act of reading as intimate experience, holding the potentiality to become public through the “outlouding” of words, otherwise under-emphasized. In correspondence with Tiqqun’s Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl, organized around feminist thought both historical and contemporary, and inspired by theory and fiction, YGRG provides an intimate discursive space within the experience of collective reading.

At Art in General, Young Girl Reading Group will present COMING OF AGE, a three-stage performative project between August–October 2018 grown out of group reading sessions. It will culminate in a performance and creation of a fragrance depicting the technological mediation of YGRG’s activity. After events hosted internationally by the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and Institute of Contemporary Art, London and many other; this is YGRG’s first-ever presentation in New York City.

Interested in the interrelationships between gender and technology, and the intersections between power, gender and desire, YGRG developed COMING OF AGE through a fascination with reading, sharing texts and interest in language and its multiple forms. The act of gathering and talking, listening and reading together emphasizes the relationship of the body and text—making it a collective body—while exploring the choreographic aspects of a reading group.

Readers are placed in lounging positions, which evoke the casual space of the bedroom, through this, a sense of intimacy and vulnerability is generated. What is produced is a sense of girl-on-the-internet catharsis–feminist theory rubs against ‘girlish’ reading practices, signaling a move towards de-institutionalizing the texts YGRG works with. Here, meaning is grown out of collective reading and extends to the non-organic world and the senses of smell, vision, and touch.

COMING OF AGE I on August 15th is a collective reading of two texts: “The Cloak of Darkness” from Richard Sennett’s Flesh and Stone and “Coming of Age in Karhide,” a short sci-fi story by Ursula K. Le Guin

COMING OF AGE II on September 13th is a collective reading of Elvia Wilk’s “The Word Made Fresh: Mystical Encounter and the New Weird Divine" by Elvira Wilk and “Chapter One from “Parable of the Talents” by Octavia Butler

COMING OF AGE III on October 12th, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė present a new work conceived in collaboration with International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. An iteration of the artists’ long term project Young Girl Reading Group (YGRG), COMING OF AGE III is the first step towards the production of a YGRG fragrance. This scent bears a poetic sign or a memory of belonging to a certain intimate collective experience, but can also be seen as an olfactory process of documentation. Understanding that we can no longer see bodies as finite unities but instead fluid, porous cartographies or else distributed networks of corporate agency, COMING OF AGE III is a reflection on the economy of the transformative experience.

Young Girl Reading Group is a collaboration between Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė. They have recently exhibited YGRG related projects and performances at Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; 6th Moscow Biennale of Young Art, MMOMA; Cell Project Space, London; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin; Kunsthalle Freiburg; 13th Baltic Triennial, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius and Tallin Kunstihoone; Kunsthalle Basel; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; SMK – National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen; Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; SALTS, Basel; LISTE Performance Project, Basel; 9th Berlin Biennale; Hessel Museum/CCS Bard; Kunsthalle Zurich; Le Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, etc. Upcoming exhibitions include: ANTI – 6th Athens Biennale; Les Urbaines, Lausanne; Still I Rise, Nottingham Contemporary and solo exhibition at Lukas Hirsch Gallery, Düsseldorf.

General Support of Art in General is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation; Trust for Mutual Understanding; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; National Endowment for the Arts; Visegrad Fund and FUTURA; Greenwich Collection; Cowles Charitable Trust; Milton and Sally Avery Foundation; Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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