On Thursday night the 4th of February we went to Copenhagen and had a round-table discussion at NLHspace. As usual we started off with a short presentation of SculptureHUB and summarized our thoughts so far, Josefina shared her experiences as an artist, asking questions and presented statistics to the audience. Sofia then presented thoughts on underrepresentation and different strategies of All-women-shows, followed by statistics of the contemporary art world made by East London Fawcett’s Art Audit. This time we had also added some numbers from the Copenhagen art scene, presenting the numbers at commercial galleries and the big institutions it became clear that there were only around 25-30% female artists regardless of type of venue and that women were especially underrepresented when it came to solo-shows.
As in Helsinki there was only women attending the discussion which shows how framed this subject seem to be. We have also found different attitudes towards the issues depending on the different countries. In Denmark we found that many women have not thought about the questions we presented them with and it seems to be promoted to a higher extent that representation is based on quality and not gender. This lead to an interesting discussion about content versus quotas. We were pleased to hear so many women talking about these issues and also questioning the aims and goals of the project. Interestingly, again, women attending seemed keen on creating networks and some suggested that we should move from exhibition to online platforms and other kind of networking were galleries, institutions and artists could get information about other women in art, and by that strategy find ways to expose women in the galleries and exhibition venues. The group had a rewarding discussion about ‘Open-calls’ and solo-shows, would it be beneficial to have ‘Open-call’ or what is the most democratic way of curating these kind of exhibitions? It seemed like quality rather than quantity was an important matter and therefore focusing on a few women exhibiting solo over a period of time rather than showing a lot of women at once would be more beneficial to prove our point and give these women a push forward in their careers. As we continued talking these topics made us think about value, what are the three aspects of value: venue, money and the token man seemed to be agreed upon as defining value. For a successful project we therefore have to think about those aspects when we plan and organize the exhibition in order to give the project and artists credibility but at the same time not giving up on our aims and goals. We are very pleased to have heard so many ideas and thoughts, we were glad to hear so many views on our project and not just the issue as such, how people seem to be interested in the final goals and aims of the project and not just focusing on women in art.
The following day we had meetings with female artists from Copenhagen, we were very grateful so many wanted to show their portfolios and their work with us. We are especially happy to hear that so many people and artists seemed to appreciate the idea of Josefina and I travelling around, since that gives both them and us an opportunity to get seen which would not have been possible if the trip had not been done. We would like to thank all participants, Miriam and Mette at NLHspace for hosting us.
Text by Sofia Landström