Gallery: Episode 3.12
Whitechapel survey exhibit: "From Two Worlds"



The second poster decorating the wall in Helen's S3, ep12 scene with Thomas is from a Whitechapel Art Gallery survey exhibition that took place in 1986, called "From Two Worlds: Sixteen Artists of Non-European Background: 30 July - 7 September." Props to whoever did Bad Girls' props: the exhibit took place during a time when "outsider art"—a category including art by the self-taught, institutionalized, rural, or marginalized people from developing nations—was gaining serious critical attention, and is thus entirely fitting as a piece of background decoration in a prison office. (The exhibit focused on emerging Black artists.)

To us, the audience viewing a television show, the Helen we see in the show is art. The art in the background of her office is to her as she is to us: it's a direct analogy. Helen's office art is to Helen as Helen is to the audience.

If we 'read' the paintings ('From Two Worlds' and 'Femme Assise dans un Fauteuil') as a sentence—viewed in the order first seen (i.e. not the 'order' they appear on, on the wall)—that sentence would be: The woman in the armchair is from two worlds. Chair = Gov of Larkhall, i.e. Helen. She just ended her relationship with Nikki. Now she is thinking about/starting one with Thomas. At this moment, Helen is from—and between—two worlds.



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