Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir| Dresden, Germany
Louise Bourgeois, Birgit Dieker, Sylvie Fleury, Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir, the Guerrilla Girls, Morten Traavik and Via Lewandowsky
Special Exhibition: Gender and Violence War is for Men, Peace is for Women?
Bundeswehr Museum of Military History, Olbrichtplatz 2 01099 Dresden, Germany
April 27th – October 30th, 2018
Opening April 26th at 6:00 pm
Targeted Interventions is staged in conjunction with the museum´s special exhibition Gender and Violence. Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir´s multi figure installation TROPHIES will be installed on the museum building. Other participating artists are: Louise Bourgeois, Birgit Dieker, Sylvie Fleury, The Guerilla Girls, Morten Traavik and Via Lewandowsky.
Is violence and the capability to use violence a matter of gender? Is “female” an equivalent to “weak” and “male” an equivalent to “soldierly”? Or is what is considered a typical male and female (violent) behaviour the consequence of societal rules and traditions which are subject to change? Like war, which arises from peace, and peace, which is not the absence of violence, the differentiation between the genders is not as definite as we assume, believing in the dichotomy between peaceable women and violent men. This topic has been in the focus of current debates. With its exhibition “Gender and Violence: War is for Men, Peace is for Women?”, the Bundeswehr Museum of Military History is addressing this topic in a scientifically sound but nevertheless playful manner. The first time-spanning, historico-cultural and socio-historical exhibition since the reopening of the Museum in 2011 calls into question supposed certainties and contrasts current notions of femininity and masculinity with history, which knows various manifestations of the gender and violence issue. More than 1000 exhibits and works, such as paintings, sculptures, photos, drawings, scientific studies, surgical equipment, uniforms, diaries, weapons, vehicles, everyday items, archaeological finds, audio documents and films, illustrate surprising interdisciplinary perspectives and provide an exciting and perceptive panorama with regard to the contrast between gender and violence.
The associated project “Targeted Interventions”, which is sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), gives the visitors a first impression of the special exhibition before they enter the Museum. In the outdoor display area around the building, at the façade, at the attic and on the ground floor of the new building designed by Daniel Libeskind, the works of contemporary artists from six nations deal with the topic of the exhibition. The installations made by Louise Bourgeois, Birgit Dieker, Sylvie Fleury, Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir, the Guerrilla Girls, Morten Traavik and Via Lewandowsky are prominent marks in the overall complex of the Museum, calling into question the common expectations for places reminding of German military tradition.
Dr. Gorch Pieken, Curator:
“For dealing with this particularly challenging and controversial subject, we have obtained expertise from all spheres of society, from renowned scientists, self-help groups of Brazilian Favelas, feminist rappers, movie stars and world champions, as well as from servicemen and women of the Bundeswehr and other armies. It is just that diversity of voices and perspective which helps us give answers to the gender and violence issue.”
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Armin Wagner, Museum Director:
“This exhibition is a milestone in the history of the Bundeswehr Museum of Military History. We are addressing a multitude of topics, which our visitors may link with their lifeworld experience. People have to deal with gender norms every day, be it at school, at work, in their leisure time or in their families. The future socio-political issues calling for more gender equity and diversity are, of course, highly significant for the Bundeswehr as well. In so far, we also consider the exhibition a contribution to the necessary discussion in the armed forces.”
About the artist
Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir is born in Reykjavik, Iceland. She lived in England and Italy where she got her training as a sculptor. Steinunn has been working professionally for close to 40 years and has exhibited widely in Europe, Japan, USA and Australia. Her works are in private, public and corporate collections worldwide. She works in various forms of sculpture and uses many different materials for her artistic expression. Steinunn has through the years done numerous commissions both indoor in specific spaces as well as site specific outdoor work. Steinunn lives and works in Reykjavik, Iceland.