MIRRORS AND WINDOWS
18.06.2021 - 03.10.2021
Yeşim Akdeniz, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Keren Cytter, Sabrina Fritsch, Ellen Gallagher, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Katharina Grosse, Nan Hoover, Franka Hörnschemeyer, Magdalena Jetelová, Rita McBride, Rissa, Analia Saban, Beate Schiff, Anna Simons, Rosemarie Trockel, Rebecca Warren, Katharina Wulff
We are experiencing a time of collective learning and unlearning. Representations, (un-)conscious linguistic customs and institutional structures are put to trial and revised, while alternative concepts are formulated for the future. Such a learning process introduces transformations and at the same time demarcates a privileged space that can lead to exclusions. Who has access to knowledge? Whom do we learn from and from which viewing angles? Teachers are identities significantly shaping our views of the world, for in the process of learning, the reflections (Mirrors) affect the perception and the formation of perspectives (Windows).
In 1921, a hundred years ago, the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf was one of the last academies to follow suit, granting female artists the opportunity to pursue an
academic education in the arts. On this occasion, the exhibition Mirrors and Windows in the Philara Collection is dedicated to the centenary of the admission
of women to the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie. Female students meanwhile constitute more than half of the body of students at art academies in Germany, yet they are not equally represented in terms of numbers and diversity in museums, on the art market and teaching professions.
With the exhibition Mirrors and Windows, the focus is directed towards the women who teach there. By combining works by former and current professors of the fine arts at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, we would like to take the opportunity to draw attention to both the achievements and the still existing inequalities, and thus inspire an overall evaluation of women in the art world. Which positive changes have already been initiated and which hurdles need yet to be cleared?
Rather than reproducing further gender-based territories, the exhibition's formal set up is aimed at creating a multi-voiced space of diverse, brilliant artistic approaches and experiences. The works featured at the Philara Collection bear similarities in how they question their own position and draw boundaries to and reflect on power structures at the time of their creation. This includes practices of negotiating gendered role attributions, addressing the interaction of private and public policies, questioning traditional language conventions and prerogatives of interpretation and implementing strategies of appropriation and exertion of influence. Alongside renowned positions of contemporary art, the exhibition highlights works by women as yet remaining unknown to a larger audience, since they were only marginally registered by the system of their time or their recognition was carried over into the present less prominently.
Even a hundred years after women had gained access to a professional artistic education and carrier, they are still faced with structural disadvantages. Taking a look at the great art academies in Germany reveals that women* with experiences of intersectional discrimination are affected by this to an even greater extent and are not listed separately statistically.
In addition to the exhibition, there will be a panel discussion with Curated Affairs and And She Was Like: BÄM!, where students of the academy and other individuals from the field of art will talk about the general institutional conditions and still existing disadvantages as well as potentials and spaces of possibility. We are supporting the next issue of Wormhole Newspaper as part of the Mirrors and Windows exhibition. Wormhole is a newspaper published by students of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf since February 2020. It serves as a multi-voiced platform that strengthens the rights of people in the LGTBQ+ community, that aims to open up new perspectives and also analyses structures that promote the abuse of power and discrimination at the Kunstakademie
Photo: Ed Restle