After decades of vocal debate and demands for reform, on 5 June 1915 women in Denmark were finally granted the vote and written into the Danish constitution as legitimate citizens.
To mark the centenary of this milestone in the history of equal rights, the artist, dramatist and author Tomas Lagermand Lundme has curated an exhibition for the first floor of Overgaden that unfolds as a narrative of the development of gender politics since women’s official entrance onto the democratic stage. But it is also a narrative of gender itself, because what does it mean to be a woman – or a man for that matter? And is it time to wipe the gender slate clean and discover what we can create together as human beings?
In the words of Shakespeare, “all the world is a stage, and we are but players upon it”. In the same spirit, Tomas Lagermand Lundme’s exhibition stages the battle of the sexes as a theatrical performance, bringing new voices to historical material through dialogue and role play that explore alternative ways of being together and being beyond gender. At a literal and symbolic level the exhibition spans the poles of male and female, represented by two stages aesthetically and materially loaded with feminine and masculine character traits. On and between the stages the participating artists present a series of works that freely interpret the role models and icons of the women’s liberation movement, fan culture, childcare institutions, beauty ideals, and witchcraft. These are all areas conventionally linked to women, but the wry, activist and humorous perspectives and interpretations of the works in the exhibition detonate conventional stereotypes and point towards a more fluid view of gender that holds the potential for as many genders as we are people.
The issue of gender is thereby established both as a common human condition and an individual affair that cannot be relegated to the past. But rather than conflict, the exhibition invites us to a ceasefire of community and reflection. As a theatrical space, the exhibition offers an open platform to try out different roles and scenarios – and not least contribute to their creation. Some of the works function directly as props, and viewers are involved as active participants encouraged to dress up, act and move in specific ways, co-creating the exhibition by using and moving the ‘props’ around. As a result the exhibition space will constantly change character, works will swap places, and visitors will be able to experience a series of spontaneous contributions and happenings by the participating artists. In this way the exhibition also raises issues like who writes history for who, what is worth remembering and what should we remember to forget, as well as the paradoxical nature of every claim to speak on behalf of a community.
As a key part of the exhibition, Tomas Lagermand Lundme has organised an extensive programme of events, which during the summer will bring new layers and new voices to the theme of the exhibition in the form of readings, performances, concerts, and a workshop.
Cast: Kristina Ask, Peter Brandt, Kristina Nya Glaffey, Kajsa Gullberg, Martin Hall, Molly Haslund, Jomi Massage, Mathias Kryger, Jonas Liveröd, Stine Ljungdalh, Tomas Lagermand Lundme, Pulsk Ravn, Rumpistol, Julie Sass, Nina Strand, Gritt Uldall-Jessen, You Little Teapot, Kristoffer Ørum.