Erica Stocking: MotherGinger Promenade
May 27 – December 17, 2023

A woman, dressed in a pantsuit resembling a disco ball, stands on a plinth. Spotlit, she is performing for an audience in a darkened environment.

Erica Stocking, MotherGinger Promenade, 2023. Courtesy the artist. Photographs: Toni Hafkensheid.

AGYU was pleased to host a special performance by Erica Stocking as part of MotherGinger Promenade. The performance charted a path through the emergence of fashion as a discipline within the modernism of late nineteenth century Paris. Taking the form of a fashion show, it considered fashion’s entanglement in rhythms and spaces of visibility as well as the social and material conditions of movement. Inspired by early examples of public promenades (such as those on the Bois de Boulogne after its redevelopment as a society gathering point in the late 1800s), as spaces where economic, social, and aesthetic interests come together in an event of looking and being seen, Stocking invited you to consider: what is a closet and where can it take you?

The performance built on Stocking’s ongoing project, MotherGinger, named after the iconic drag character from Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker. By referencing this figure, characterized by a massive dress that houses eight children, Stocking foregrounds the connection between mothers as producers of human bodies for labour, Western industrialization, and the blurring of the boundary between leisure and work. Stocking has developed MotherGinger as a brand, expressed in multiple forms from performances to pop-up shops. Situating itself within fashion as a conceptual framework, this project considers the ways that gender, subjectivity, and survival intertwine within this balletic character. Engaging both container technologies and the character’s roots in the Zanni characters of commedia dell’arte, MotherGinger Promenade is an invitation, a monologue, and a fashion show.

Exhibition in the AGYU Vitrines
May 27 – December 17, 2023

For this installation of MotherGinger, Erica Stocking transformed the AGYU vitrines into stylized containers — evoking closets, window displays, and travel trunks. In calling attention to the structure of the vitrines, and their role as containers, this installation echoed the writing of Australian researcher Zoë Sofia on “container technologies,” who highlights the significant role of containers throughout history, including vessels and a myriad of objects and devices frequently associated with women’s labour. For Sofia, as well as for Stocking, containment is not passive; it is active and integral, exemplified by human beings’ inextricable entanglement and reliance on their own container, their own environment.

The AGYU vitrines are situated in the colonnade of the Accolade East Building, a space designed for movement. To promenade is to move with the intent of display, and, in this iteration of MotherGinger, garments made from domestic household materials and found objects displayed in the vitrines were removed, worn, and later returned in a series of performances that echo the movement of clothing through private and public spaces, testing what it means to be seen.

Erica Stocking: MotherGinger Promenade was curated by Clara Halpern, Assistant Curator, Exhibitions, AGYU, with support from Jenifer Papararo, Director/Curator, and Michael Maranda, Assistant Curator, Publications.

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences hosted by York University
May 27 – June 3, 2023

There were impromptu performances between May 27 and June 3, 2023, during Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, hosted this year by York University.

Erica Stocking is an artist working at the intersection of sculpture, performance, and installation. Her work has been exhibited in Canada at Artspeak, Mercer Union, The Western Front, and at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Stocking’s public artworks are part of the City of Vancouver, City of Surrey, and SFU Community Trust Collections. She received her BFA from Emily Carr Institute in 2004, and recently completed an MFA at OCAD University in 2021. Stocking lives and works in Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD in Visual Arts at York University.


The AGYU vitrines are located near the gallery in the colonnade of the Accolade East Building. They can be accessed at any time.

See also


MotherGinger Promenade
27 May – 17 Dec 2023

Erica Stocking: MotherGinger Promenade

Erica Stocking: MotherGinger Promenade
vitrines exhibition
27 May – 17 Dec 2023




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