Exhibiton view, Innocence & Violence, 2004


12 March - 24 April 2004

Nadine Norman, Tany, Zilla Leutenegger, Maike Freess, Mathilde Ter Heijne
Curated by Sabine Gamper

Exhibiton view, Innocence & Violence, 2004

Exhibiton view, Innocence & Violence, 2004

Innocence & Violence are the two poles embracing the representations and contents of this exhibition. Five artists from different cultural and social contexts present their idea of femininity at the beginning of the 21st Century. The exhibition shows images of everyday life and modern lifestyles of young women, raises the curtain on glimpses of life, and moves around myths of femininity and the necessary strategies to face reality. The works shed light on intimacy and cruelty, innocence and violence, narcissism and self-destruction: a survey and a discovery of opportunities and limits in the relationship with ourselves and with others.
Through their films, photographs, drawings and performances, the 5 artists represent themselves and their body as protagonists, in their integrity or laceration, always set in their cultural background and referring to the history of art and to their socialisation. At the same time, they intentionally thematise their position as women in a male art market by definition. The “Woman Mystery”, the Freudian ” obscure continent “, is enlightened by the female point of view, presenting a stratified and intense image of a new modern woman. The main subject of the film “Mathilde, Mathilde…” (2000) by Mathilde ter Heijne (Strasburg) is split personality. The artist presents the theme of women as victims, casting herself in the role of a young woman who, through her death, becomes the eternal beloved (like Dante’s Beatrice). However, she gives a new meaning to the content by creating her “Double”, an Alter Ego that, in a violent scene, is thrown from a bridge into a raging river. The artist kills her image, thus becoming victim and executioner at the same time.
The main subject presented by Nadine Norman (Canada) is female reality in its socially mediated corporeity, as the concept of desire and all its contradictions. She focuses her attention on the sphere between the fiction and reality of different representations and roles of women in advertising and other media, as well as in the artistic context.
The film “Dedicated to my Ex Lover” (2001), by the Japanese TANY, deals with the end of her relationship with an artist. The dramatic scenes are set in a gloomy park where she follows her ex-lover with her moped and finally beats him. The extreme aggressiveness of this representation astonishes and overwhelms the observer, because the artist corrupts the theme of violence within the relationship between man and woman.
The films by Zilla Leutenegger (Switzerland) recall many of Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits and Elisabeth Peyton’s codified, pop cultural pictures. In her cartoons, she represents and expresses her innermost and private desires and sensations with no exhibitionism, but through lyric and simple images of herself. She drafts and gives life to her portrait as in a cartoon, through which deep intimacy is entrusted to the figure, which is represented as an identification platform.
Even the works of the German Maike Freess deal with the female body and the image of herself and others. In the film “The river around me” (2001), the artist plays the role of the three typical female models, “the blond”, “the brunette” and “the redhead”. This film is projected frontally on a transparent film, so that the three women are reflected in the eyes of the spectator. Continuously dressing and undressing themselves, these women waver between self-affirmation and flirting with the observer. Anyway, female body is never an end in itself, but the fruit of fantasies, which surround it and become the real subject. The self-portrait of these artists becomes the projection of our desires and absurdity, a game of innocence and violence in a minefield.