Do our views on gender and sexuality have an effect on our view of art and historiography?
In dialogue with Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art’s architecture, the Danish visual artist Mette Winckelmann sets focus on tradition, body, gender and queer theory in the exhibition WE HAVE A BODY – a comprehensive solo exhibition.
With an overall feeling of an installational work that includes paintings, textile collages, objects and ‘Sønderjyske solæg’ (a speciality from Southern Jutland), Mette Winckelmann initiates a dialogue with Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art’s architecture and history as well as J.F. Willumsen’s thoughts behind the layout and colour combinations of the exhibition spaces.
The abstract painting plays a central role in Mette Winckelmann’s practice that provides a space for new agendas to occur. Her artistic practice covers a range of visual medias, materials and remix, in which the recognizable characteristics of the works are that they appear at once tactile and poetic. In the exhibition WE HAVE A BODY she uses abstraction as a method to deconstruct and reinterpret ideas about the body and gender. The body is the exhibition’s axis and functions as a catalyst for considerations of belonging both in the concrete works and within ideas about tradition, liberation and stereotyping.
The title of the exhibition refers to Winckelmann’s work with painting, which for Winckelmann always connects itself to the body’s position. Reflections about emancipation form the basis for many of her works – liberation from maintaining certain traditional ways of looking at the body and performing it. According to Mette Winckelmann, visual art, compared with other art genres, often tends to be subjected to an automatic and uncritical normative interpretation. She asks questions such as: Why is there not more focus upon the signals of gender and sexuality that are nowadays incorporated within every painting? And do we have a particular hetero-normative/sexist-normative perspective, through which we read paintings?
With the exhibition it is therefore her aim to investigate the ideas about the body and gender, and how this might affect our view of art. Winckelmann wants to give nuance to look at painting, for example with a queer theoretical perspective, in order to achieve a broader experience of the work in relation to our actual reality and context, historically and contemporarily.