From Iceland — Exhibition Tackles Gender Equality At Mengi

Exhibition Tackles Gender Equality At Mengi

Published October 17, 2016

Signe Smala

At the start of next month, a new art exhibition – “An Issue of Structure” – opens at Mengi. It aims to illuminate the reality of gender equality and acceptance in Nordic countries, in the words of the author Snövit Hedstierna, by “blowing up social situations and giving ground for new versions of the truth.”

The exhibition uses spatial and audio installations to address and reveal the discrepancy between statistics and reality related to gender equality in North. As organisers say in a statement to the press:

Although Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark – are considered to be some of the most gender equal in the world, according to The World Economic Forums “Global Gender Gap Report”, other reports, such as FRA Violence Against Women, reveal that these countries have a high rate of violence and abuse.

The Swedish artist Hedstierna has carried out approximately 250 in depth interviews with women, queer, transgender and  gender-fluid people in Nordic nations, collecting testimonies of their private experiences related to gender, equality and sexuality. 6,000 hours of work has resulted in an online audio archive and the exhibition “An Issue of Structure”, which is currently visiting the countries where featured stories originated.

“My main focus is to shed light upon the hidden, forgotten and untold by addressing questions of human existence and value and of gender- and identity-based rights,” Hedstierna said. “I strive to bring attention to the oppression of women and of transgendered, queer and other subjects who live in a state of ‘otherness’ relative to the hetero-normative.”

Large scale architectonic physical formations, such as labyrinths, corridors and sloping floors are combined with audio installations to throw off visitors’ senses, evoking a feeling of discomfort which, accompanied by audio testimonies, symbolizes the struggle experienced by people whose stories are voiced.

“The subject matter I work with is often ignored or trivialized by public media and I therefore feel compelled to employ large gestures and formats: long durational works, oversized prints, multi-channel video, and expansive installations,” the author says.

For the curious, here is an audio trailer for the exhibition.

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