Agnes Janich

Review 2

Melons under it and straps over it

Der Standard

April 28th 2010


The exhibition No more bad girls? examines the issue of gender identity in the context of bad girls art. They are no more, or at least that is what the exhibition's co-curator, Claudia Marion Stemberger, said to be the verdict of the critics, the discourse queens. Stemberger referred to the objection that there are apolitical, sexy shows being held right now. Following what art historian Edith Krebs said in an essay accompanying the 2006 Basel show Cooling Out, women's positions arise which would hardly take on the feminist label. Krebs suggested rather the political commitment resulting in a reexamining of historic, both famous and lesser-known positions in feminist art, who summed up that the idyll is hard to miss. The art theorist Bojana Pejic presented a question Why is feminism suddenly so sexy? in three feminist exhibition catalogs ( WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at MOCA in 2007 L.A., Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum in 2007 New York and Gender Battle in 2007 in Santiago de Compostella).


Feminism as the beloved label


For the curators, Claudia Marion Stemberger and Kathrin Becker, there was reason enough to undertake research. The alleged depoliticizing of young artists was the impetus for the topical exhibition at the Kunsthalle Exnergasse. Stemberger wanted to avoid another coffee table book debate, which, to her, would signify the trivialization of a political movement. She searched for canonical tools of art history.


Stemberger suspects the rarely benevolent questions about art's political potential as dead end internal, ethnocentric interpretation of hegemonies. One such unreflective dominance is, to the curators of No more bad girls? an exhibition only opposing the discrimination of women, without taking

into focus their complex realities. And so No more bad girls? wants to build normalcy not only on the male / female dichotomy,

but also question migrant life situations, sexual orientation, religion, age and social status as possible discriminatory constructs.


Ethnic and social stereotypes


The exhibition aims to undermine both gender and ethnic stereotypes. Thus, for example Nezaket Ekici deals with the topic of veiling and unveiling. In her video, she pulls her outfit over a chador under which she is hidden. Even Patty Chang hides not that what you would expect. In her performance, Melons, she focuses on her chest, which she stabs a few times, unmasking the fruity content. Gradually, she eats out her melon breast, while her relative is fighting breast cancer. Elodie Pong in her work Je suis une bombe, showing a panda bear dancing on a pole, deals with the ambiguous sense of power and the disappearing generation of women. A total of 18 artists are represented in the exhibition, which is particularly international. The artists are, for example, from Guatemala, Indonesia, Estonia and Pakistan. The question of the socio-political focus of the exhibition is open until the shows end on June 11th.

© 2003 - 2018 Agnes Janich