Femme Desires is an invitation into a realm where the ultra-feminine reigns. Ruthless but deliberate, earnest but playful, the exhibition presents a femme sphere with acerbic wit.
Drawing from ASMR-culture, the featured works delves into issues of affections, desires, and power relations in connection to identity construction and gender performativity. The exhibition focuses on the utopian in exploration of power and embodiment; It presents a world built on a feminine vocabulary, where femininity is destined to exist for and be revelled by itself. Femme Desires is an alternative place where drag is used as a strategy for liberation - an interplay between protection and vulnerability, between room for manoeuvre and marginalisation.
Before entering, the spectators are asked to put on wireless headphones that feature a patchwork of soft tingle-triggering sounds. When the doors open, spectators attention are drawn to the intense floral bubblegum scent that fills and seeps out of the exhibition space, accompanied by a dark magenta coloured lightning. Front and center they are faced with the performer, which is wearing a pinkish beige body, a beige ballet suspensory, beige fishnet stockings, 5-inch pinkish beige stiletto heels, long pinkish beige stiletto shaped nails, and a beige wig-cap.
At first, the performer is not confrontative towards the spectators but makes sure they feel noticed. Hir gaze is mostly following hir own hands while moving them in a graceful way between different poses and gestures. After a while, the performer starts to move hir hips slowly from side to side. The gaze wanders from hirself out into the room and towards a full-length mirror that is placed in the exhibition space. The performer discovers hirself and walks towards hir own reflection while gently swinging hir hips. When facing hir own reflection sie begins to touch hir face and a smile that communicates self-acceptance appears. While gazing into the mirror the hands leave the face and are directed towards hir body. The hands begin to examine and accept hir appearance. The smile is still present but fades naturally. After a while, the performer takes a few steps back in reverse and turns around towards the spectators while making eye contact. The gaze is earnest but friendly. Hir hands are placed on hir chest and slowly they begin to wander towards the shoulders and continues to move when the shoulders end. When the time is right, the performer drops hir hands while changing hir gaze and facial expression into something that communicates ”this is me - this is who I am - please respect and accept me with love and kindness”. The performers' breath is calm and sie stays in this position while maintaining the same expression towards the spectators until they decide to leave the exhibition space.
The video work, which is a key-piece and holds the same title as the exhibition, is placed above a pink satin-like fabric in the center of the room. The video features several feminine encoded objects that appear in the exhibition space as sculptural objects. Together with the scent, lightning, and performer, these objects expand and exaggerate the ultra-feminine realm presented in the video work - placing the spectator within a simulation-like parallel reality where the potential lies in the imagination and its discursive possibilities.
Femme Desires was curated by Andreas Knag-Danielsen/B3IG3 - exhibited in January 2018 at Story Hotel Studio in Malmö, Sweden.
Photo: Johan Lundin