Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fragile Feminist We

Shirin Neshat, „ohne Titel (aus der Serie "Women of Allah")“, 1996, Silbergelatine und Tinte, 166 x 122 cm, Neue Galerie Graz, Foto: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner

Feminist Art in the Light of Multiple Gender Identities.

Once again Andy Warhol had to serve: “Ladies and Gentlemen – The Fragile Feminist We” is the title of the exhibition at Neue Galerie Graz, which deals with gender roles and feminist art in light of multiple social and biological gender identities. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Warhol’s 10-part portrait series “Ladies and Gentlemen,” in which he portrays drag queens such as Wilhelmina Ross as they are about to take on the roles of women such as Josephine Baker.

Gudrun Danzer, who is curating the exhibition together with Günther Holler-Schuster, laughs briefly when asked why of all things the title for this exhibition is borrowed from a male artist: “That’s what it’s all about for us. We don’t want to exclude anyone from the discourse on feminism. No matter what gender identity the person has,” she says. With this approach, Danzer and Holler-Schuster are opening up space for an aspect of the feminism debate that has hardly been addressed to date. For under the thin skin of our superficial gender identity, other identities can always emerge. This is also made visible in a photo series by Nicole Tran Ba Vang, which at the same time transforms the medially conventionalized female beauty ideals into an artificial protective suit that is all too easily vulnerable.

The female gender norms assigned by a patriarchal society are the subject of the Iranian-born director, filmmaker and photographer Shirin Neshat’s work. In her works, she deals intensively with the situation of women in the Muslim world. As a filmmaker, she was awarded the director’s prize at the Venice Film Festival for her film “Women Without Men.” In her photo series “Women of Allah,” Neshat examines the challenging situation in which women find themselves today in Muslim-dominated countries. In these works, Shirin Neshat traces the complex and often tragically paradoxical reality in which women find themselves in these societies today: While women are forced to disappear under the burqa, Neshat makes the sons of these women stand completely naked.

The young artist Soli Kiani, who also comes from Iran, castigates the compulsory veiling and the numerous social prohibitions for women in fundamentalist societies with radical uncompromisingness by simply putting on a black plastic garbage bag instead of the burqa for her photo series “Breathe”. Soli Kiani comments on her works in the most succinct way imaginable: “I have nothing to say. Only to show.”

Ladies and Gentlemen – Das fragile feministische Wir
15.10.2021 – 30.10.2022 
Neue Galerie Graz
8010 Graz