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Arahmaiani | Patty Chang | Nezaket Ekici | Judith Fegerl | Regina Galindo | Chitra Ganesh |

Mathilde ter Heijne | Maryam Jafri | Agnes Janich | Nadia Khawaja | Elena Kovylina | Nomusa Makhubu | Elodie Pong | Larissa Sansour | Ene-Liis Semper | Andrea Sunder-Plassmann | Newsha Tavakolian

20.08. - 03.10.10

Curated by Claudia Marion Stemberger and Kathrin Becker

ARAHMAIANI (Indonesia)

"I Love You" (2009)

Installation/Textile, ca. 400x800x300 cm

In her huge bag-type sculpture, I Love You, Arahmaiani visualizes the stereotypes and negative encodings with which Arabic characters have come to be fraught, especially in a post-9/11 world. The artist challenges the perception and interpretation of the "Jawi" letters (the Malay form of Arabic script) sown from fabric which seems to oscillate iridescently between a transcultural urge for contact and its repudiation. In another twist of meaning, the look and feel of the fabric questions the semantics of surfaces of the (female) body.



"Melons (At a Loss)" (1998), video 3:44 min.
Courtesy Galerie Arratia Beer, Berlin

In her video performance, Melons (At a Loss), Patty Chang addresses her aunt's lethal breast cancer, while at the same time hinting at – besides inferring Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (1964) – the connections between the female body, nature, and fertility, which have never been perfectly tamed [nor acquiesced]. In this piece, the artist slices through one of two cantaloupes dangling from her x-large bra and, then, spoons pulp into her mouth. The artist is perfectly conscious of the fact that her Asian physiognomy is present in the video.


NEZAKET EKICI (Turkey/Germany)

"Veiling and Reveiling" (2009)

Videoperformance, DVD PAL 24:17 min.

In her video performance, Veiling and Reveiling, Nezaket Ekici caricatures clichés of projections onto other cultural spheres as her ambiguous, reversed-gaze reveals how identity and representation are interwoven mutually. On the one hand, the chador that the artist wears represents, in the West, a symbol of the suppression of women; while, on the other, Ekici's masquerading questions how, in the Islamic societies, stereotypical clichés of Western women are also imagined – as always being sexy, dressed in lingerie, and wearing glaring make up.



"Galatean Heritage" (2007)

Installation (Objekt-Installation), ca. 200 x 400 cm

In her machine sculpture, Galatean Heritage, Judith Fegerl triggers questions of authorship and reproduction. Fegerl's hybrid aesthetics make clear how female artists today develop their own forms of representation, beyond passively-connoted modes of production. Within the context of the (maleproduced) pictures of time-transcending artist heroes, the artist herself refuses to endorse such male longings for self-reproduction, which has a long history of connotation within the art circuit as such "bachelor machine(s)" by Marcel Duchamp and Harald Szeemann.



"PERRA" (2005),video 10 min.  
Courtesy the artist and Prometeo Gallery di Ida Pisani, Milano

In her video performance, Perra, Regina José Galindo alludes to "Second Wave Feminism" and Leslie Labowitz, Suzanne Lacey, and Bia Lowe in the performance In Mourning and In Rage (1977) – although, here, the artist acts violently against herself. Galindo cuts the word "perra" (Spanish for "bitch" and/or "whore") into her flesh to visualize how sexual violence committed at the hands of men is inscribed traumatically – both metaphorically and physically – into the bodies of Guatemalan women.



"Lady Mollusk" (2009), from The Unknowns series

Inkjet prints on canvas with mixed media collage, 203x101.5 cm
Courtesy Thomas Erben Gallery, New York 

In her large format series, The Unknowns, Chitra Ganesh quotes feminine images, which overlap in a collage of anonymous female subjects, B-movies of the 1960s and '70s, paintings from the period of French orientalism, documentary photography of prostitutes, and studio photography from India. Ganesh shows how exotic images of femininity – after they have been removed from their respective cultural contexts – circulate globally and are given new meaning by the mass media.



"Further Than We've Gone" (2009), radio play, "Constructing Matriarchy" (2007), video

"The Empire of Women – Not a fairy Tale" (2007), comic book

Courtesy Galerie Arndt, Berlin

Mathilde ter Heijne comes to terms with her journey to the matriarchal Mosuo ethnic group in China. Here, in contrast with the masculine-encoded image of the explorer, the particularities of the feminine gaze are revealed in order to realize one's own emancipation. Although the risk of a (re)stabilization of dichotomies needs to be taken, the documentary media used (i.e. radio play Further Than We've Gone, video Constructing Matriarchy), in response to pop-cultural media (e.g. comic The Empire of Women – Not a fairy Tale), do offer post-feminist perspectives.


MARYAM JAFRI (Pakistan/USA/Denmark)

"People of the Book" (2003), 18 posters, archival ink-jet on paper, 21x29,7 cm

In her eighteen part poster installation, People of the Book, Maryam Jafri deals with the perception of Islam in Western cultures. Her project unfolds from the first contacts of colonizers with the Arabic world up to the questions of how fictitious narratives of ethnicities circulate in today's societies and how reality is distorted by representation. From a migrant's perspective, the artist creates cartographies of shared interests as much as tensions between postcolonialism and (post)feminism.



"My Mom's Diary" (2009), Series, 11 Motive, photographs, 10x15cm, archival inkjet prints

Courtesy the artist and Charim Gallery Vienna

In her series of small format photographs, My Mom's Diary, Agnes Janich refers back to the figure of the Polish mother as a pathetically occupied, projection screen for concepts of motherhood in the public sphere, rooted in national and religious ideologies. In her image commentaries, the artist thwarts the current neoconservative relapse of Eastern European societies into traditional role models and stages the relation of mother and daughter as a cross between fetish and rival; she achieves this by placing herself in the picture instead of the mother figure.



"eye am" (2001), 10 min.  
Courtesy Grey Noise Gallery Lahore & Thomas Erben Gallery New York

Nadia Khawaja encounters the viewers of her performance video work, eye am, literally at eye level. The focusing of one of her eyes reminds us, on the one hand, of the "evil eye" that has been (and still is) associated worldwide as being inherently female; and, which, particularly, in Islam, can be warded off by wearing the Nazar, the eye of Fatima. The alleged distance the Niqab, the Muslim veil for the woman's face, produces turns paradoxically into an irritating, inescapable (physical) intimacy in Khawaja's piece.



"Carriage" (2009), video, 9 min.

Elena Kovylina's video, Carriage, is a remake of famous sequences on the Potemkin Stairs in Odessa from Sergei Eisenstein's film The Battleship Potemkin (1925). In this piece, she highlights how, in reality, for female cultural producers and far from mythical (male) artist legends, a post-socialist, apparently de-ideologised space does not feel any less disoriented than before. The work underscores how, up to the present day, nothing has changed regarding the nonexistent social security for female artists in Russia.



"Trading Lies" (2006), Series, 9 Motive, photographs, 50x70 cm
Courtesy the artist and The Photographers Gallery, Cape Town

In her photo series, Trading Lies, Nomusa Makhubu positions herself within the bizarre settings of a Museum of Colonial History; she does so to challenge memories long neglected in the process of the re-invention of the South-African identity. The interior shots remind us of the fact that, in nineteen-century portrait photography, (white) women were mostly photographed in family portraits and not, say, occupying any political function. The fact that, at the same time, black women were only photographed out of an ethnographic interest, illustrates the ambivalent relation between the colonized and the colonizers.


ELODIE PONG (Switzerland)

"Je suis une bombe" (2006), 6 min.

Sample 1: Are friends electric?/*Melk Prod. with Carine Charaire, Music by Michael Hilton

Courtesy Freymond-Guth & Co Fine Arts, Zürich

Elodie Pong's video, Je suis une bombe, refers to the current post-feminist generation of women, with their awkward position between their own roles and multiple opportunities. Pong's contradictory images of women of a powerful yet vulnerable generation show how gender identity is produced performatively. The artist not only frames contradictory media models of femininity for identification – between the sexualised pole dancers and innocence of teddy bear-clutching girls – but also reveals drastically how women still style themselves as objects.


LARISSA SANSOUR (Palestine/Denmark/England)

"A Space Exodus" (2009), video, 5 min.
Courtesy Gallery La Bank, Paris

In her video, A Space Exodus, Larissa Sansour pursues an ironic play with geopolitical and gender-specific constellations of power, so far as no woman, and especially not a Palestinian woman, has ever set foot on the moon. Sansour's ironic pot shot at the history of great male heroes and Western hegemonies updates an historic event with a critical hint at the situation in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories. With an almost eye-winking sarcasm, she states: "A small step for a Palestinian, a giant leap for mankind."



"Oasis" (1999), video, 3:12 min.
Courtesy Galerie Martin Janda, Wien

Vociferously, Ene-Liis Semper rejects connections with radical positions of "Second Wave Feminism" and refuses a universalized appropriation by art critics. Against this, she claims a nuanced way of handling the provocative radicalism of her works dealing with the visualization of violence. When, in her performative video work, Oasis, a man's hand shovels dirt into the mouth of the artist before planting a primrose in it, this ostensibly everyday act of gardening leaves the artist quasi-muzzled.



"Apornithosis / Verwandlung in einen Vogel" (2003/2010), video

Andrea Sunder-Plassmann questions the feminine stylization of the exotic, when, in her video, Apornithosis / Verwandlung in einen Vogel, she is made up as an Indonesian bride. With this, the artist evokes the Western regimen of "the gaze" in the form of a Neo-Colonialist position, which she herself exemplifies with a longing for authenticity. This "cross-cultural dressing" highlights how colonial and erotic desires of an idealized femininity are anchored in the collective memory even in this day and age.



"The Day I Became a Woman" (2009), 11 Motive, c-Print, á 70x100 c
Courtesy Aaran Gallery Teheran

In her series of photographs The Day I Became a Woman, Newsha Tavakolian allows visual access to a ceremony in Iran that is held when nine-yearold girls first wear the chador. In contrast to the projected images of the apparently sad and lonely everyday lives of Iranian women, Tavakolian’s work provides sensitive and differentiated insights into the private lives of young girls. Simultaneously, The Day I Became a Woman questions the function such public (and even private) displays of female life play within this specific system of representation.



- Kunstkriktikk:

[] (in Norwegian)

- Bergens Tidende (BT):



Productive Risk: Ethnicity and Gender as Contingent Categories, by Claudia Marion Stemberger -->

Publication "No More Bad Girls":

> 21.08.10

Cutators talk
Presentation of the projekt and talk with Claudia Marion Stemberger and Kathrin Becker.


Claudia Marion Stemberger is an European art historian. She works as researcher and curator internationally. She holds both an MA and BA in Art History (University of Vienna), completed her Master in Arts Management (Johannes-Kepler-University of Linz), and received a Doctor of Medicine (Karl-Franzens-University of Graz).


Kathrin Becker is a Berlin based curator and writer. She works as a curator, managing director and head of the Video-Forum at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.).


> 28.09.10

Lecture: Women, Pain and Death

by Evy Johanne Håland, Dr./History, Researcher

The lecture is based on the description of a research project, and the principal objective for the project is to question the ways in which history has been written through the ages, to supplement a male with a female perspective, or the relation between an Olympian Zeus and a Chthonic Mother Earth. The project aims to bring ancient and modern worlds into mutual illumination.

"[Evy Johanne Håland] has taken on board a vast subject of major importance for understand-ing the culture of Europe as a whole and has equipped herself in a most unusual way both to study the Classical heritage from Ancient Greece and to undertake fieldwork in the same geo-graphical area at the present day. Part of the European neglected latent heritage is the female component and Evy Håland has also been valuably concerned with bringing this into fuller awareness. In my view Evy Håland has found her way into a field that is likely to flourish in future but at present lacks institutional bases. I see the lack of attention to the oral culture of Europe as a major barrier to inter-cultural understanding." Dr. Emily Lyle, Univ. i Edinburgh.

Evy Johanne Håland received her PhD in 2005 from the University of Bergen, where she has also taught history 1990-2004. Later, she has been affiliated with Unifob Global and Centre for Women and Gender Research, University of Bergen. Since 1983, She has had several periods of fieldwork in the Mediter-ranean, mainly in Greece and Italy where she has also conducted research on religious festivals since 1987. Her MA thesis from 1990 (Ideologies and Mentalities: A journey from Ancient Greece to Modern Mediterranean Society), PhD dissertation (Greek Festivals, Modern and Ancient: A Comparison of Female and Male Values, Kristiansand: Norwegian Academic Press 2007) and forthcoming book (Competing Ideologies in Greek Religion, Ancient and Modern) combine fieldwork results with ancient sources. She has edited the anthology, Women,Pain and Death: Rituals and Everyday-Life on the Mar-gins of Europe and Beyond (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2008).

Publication cover of "Women, Pain and Death" -->

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