Leni Dothan


A site-specific transitory installation. The MOTHER-CHILD- MACHINE, a wooden structure/machine that acts as the framework and also the creator of a non binary hybrid persona fusing the images of a mother and child into one. ‘What shall we call this hybrid persona, half male – half female, half adult – half child? What will its role in society be? Can its creation challenge existing patterns of thought relating to the classical art glorified taboo “Mother and Child” as depicted in endless paintings and sculptures?’

As part of her ongoing artistic method called Objects of Research, Leni creates a new object researching these questions. She enters the structure with her son and by doing so activates it. They become part of the machine and for a moment, in front of the camera lens, they offer a possible narrative to answer the questions above.

The piece was commissioned for Oxytocin Mothering the World symposium and installed at the King’s College London Guy’s Campus Chapel in June 2019.

The installation included the structure and a led video with three still photos that the artist took from this confrontational moment with her son that created the MOTHERCHILD Machine No.7.

Leni installed the piece in the presence of the audience, inviting people to enter the structure, experience a moment of a dialogue and be captured in with a camera.

The MOTHERCHILD Machine, is a real contribution to ‘other’ representation of motherhood in art today, but it is also a contribution to individuals who took part in this performance and allowed themselves experience each other differently than they are expected by society.

An additional result of the commission was the creation of this editioned tryptic. The first edition was aquired by the Birth Rites Collection. To enquire about the edition please email us.

This commission was possible thanks to Arts Council England project grant.