Opening Celebration presents a spectrum of Scandinavian and Baltic arts, including theatre, film, poetry and live music, Sat., Feb. 11
SAN FRANCISCO, December 15, 2005 -- From Impressionism's sunny views of everyday activities to Ingmar Bergman's sensitive, provocative vision of female sexuality, Nordic culture has a long-standing reputation for progressive yet conflicted gender politics. BENT: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Scandinavian Art examines the ways in which issues of gender and sexuality inform the work of four international artists: Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland), Jesper Just (Denmark), Annika Larsson (Sweden) and Annica Karlsson Rixon (Sweden). Constructing dialogues between past, present and future, the artists use photography, video and film to explore the formations of contemporary identity. "Theoretically sophisticated, though not primarily ‘about' theory, their artistic practices embrace the imagery of art history and popular culture while retaining a critical, sometimes ironic relationship to its sources," writes curator Whitney Chadwick in the accompanying catalogue.
of the International Center for the Arts at San Francisco State
University, BENT is on view at SFSU's Fine Arts Gallery,
Sat., Feb. 11 through Thur., March 16, 2006.
Opening Celebration features international presentations in art,
film, music and poetry from Scandinavia, the Baltic states, Russia and
Iceland. Bridging the Baltic: Artists Reception,
Sat., Feb. 11 in the Fine Arts building, SFSU campus, from noon to 4:30
With production values eerily reminiscent of Hollywood "blockbusters," Jesper Just's highly emotive films deal with themes of identity and human relationships. Primarily focusing on men, Just challenges the polarities of masculinity and femininity, questioning stereotypes and exploring taboos. Born in Copenhagen in 1974, Just graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2003. Recent solo exhibitions have been mounted in Toronto, New York, Copenhagen and Torino, Italy.
In filmed stories often presented as segments scattered among multiple monitors, Eija-Liisa Ahtila depicts such subjects as the mind fractured by psychosis. Writes The Guardian, "In just about all of Ahtila's work people have visions, slip down the cracks between reality and fantasy, and have trouble keeping the lid on their disturbed inner lives. Men cry inconsolably, couples bark at each other like dogs, sexually frustrated women pace and rage against their plight. A woman crawls on hands and knees across a bridge busy with traffic; another hides under her bed to escape her tormenting doctors." The artist lives and works in Helsinki and was born in Hameenlinna, Finland in 1959. Recent solo exhibitions have been held in London, Helsinki, Berlin and Chicago. In addition, she participated in Documenta 11 at the 48th Venice Biennale.
Annika Larsson's stylishly composed videos often address male sexual identity, with a dark and humorous twist. Exploring the complex codes of postmodern political power and sexual gratification, Larsson's wordless narrative dramas incorporate rituals of dominance and submission, conveying subtle erotic tension. Her fictionalized "plots" draw from the "real" world around us as she appropriates imagery from Hollywood films, the Internet, popular music and advertising. Born in Stockholm in 1972, Larsson graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2000. She currently lives and works in New York. Her work has been featured internationally, including solo exhibitions in Paris, London, Milan, Prague and Copenhagen.
Focusing on issues of personal and professional identity, friendships and relationships, the natural and built landscapes, Annica Karlsson Rixon uses her camera as a tool to investigate, shape and reveal personal reality and social identity. Her work sparks dialogue between historical painting and contemporary photography through the juxtaposition of scenes and subjects, often set in everyday life. The effect exposes the fragility of historical precedents of assumed gender models, such as bourgeois heterosexuality, and pushes the boundaries of contemporary identity. The artist lives and works in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she is a professor in the School of Photography at Gothenburg University. She earned an MFA in 1997 from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. Her work has been exhibited in group shows throughout Sweden, as well as Paris, Oslo, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
BENT curator Whitney Chadwick is Professor of Art at San Francisco State University. She has published widely in the areas of surrealism, feminism and contemporary art. Her books include Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement (1985); Women, Art, and Society (1990); the novel Framed (1998), and the edited collections Significant Others: Creativity and Intimate Partnership (with Isabelle de Courtivron, 1993), Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism and Self-Representation (1998), and The Modern Woman Revisited: Paris Between the Wars (with Tirza True Latimer, 2003). The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2003. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, the painter Robert Bechtle.
Gallery Information and Parking
BENT Artists Reception: Take a deeper look into gender and sexuality in Scandinavian art. Come on out to the SFSU campus for an exciting afternoon of theatre, film and music, including an experimental play -- A Ringside View -- where SFSU Professor Mohammad Kowsar juxtaposes scenes from Ibsen's A Doll's House and Strindberg's Miss Julie. A moderated artists panel also will be held. The BENT Artists Reception is Sat., Feb. 11, Noon-4:30 p.m. on the SFSU campus, Fine Arts building, 1600 Holloway Ave @ 19th Ave, San Francisco. Admission is free; for information, please call the Fine Arts Gallery at 415/338-6535.
International Center for the Arts
Fine Arts Gallery
This cutting-edge international group show looks at the ways in which
issues of gender and sexuality inform the work of four artists: Eija-Liisa
Ahtila, Jesper Just, Annika Larsson and Annica Karlsson Rixon. Through
photography, video and film, they draw from the rich media bank of images
of masculinity and femininity circulated in advertising, film, historical
art and popular culture. Constructing dialogues between past, present
and future, and acknowledging the growing role mediated images play in
culture, here Ahtila, Just, Larsson and Karlsson Rixon explore the importance
of images of gender and sexuality in formations of contemporary identity.
Curated by SFSU Professor Whitney Chadwick, BENT is a project of the
International Center for the Arts (ICA) at San Francisco State University.
Take a deeper look into gender and sexuality in Scandinavian art. Come on out to the SFSU campus for an exciting afternoon of theatre, film and music. At 1 p.m., take in an experimental play -- A Ringside View -- where SFSU Professor Mohammad Kowsar juxtaposes scenes from Ibsen's A Doll's House and Strindberg's Miss Julie. At 2 p.m., Whitney Chadwick moderates an artists panel, and at 3 p.m. the film Screaming Masterpiece -- 1000 Years of Icelandic Popular Music (87 min, 2005) will be screened with an introduction by the producer, Sigurjón Sighvatsson.
Digital images available. Contact Ariane Bicho at 415/338-1442 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 415/338-1111