Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sayers & Lundgreen

Today my intent was to do a post on another artist whose work I enjoy, but in the process of searching in Google for more information, I stumbled across a link to the website of the artists, Sayers and Lundgreen. I am quite fascinated! According to their website:

Phil Sayers and Rikke Lundgreen are a collaborative artist team who perform the characters in photographs which seek to connect everyday experience with precedents from art historical sources. Their contemporary interpretations of images from, for example, the Renaissance or the 19th Century, reveal moments of human transaction in which the roles of gender, status and power seem to be uncertain and in flux. Recurrent themes are power, ageing, death, sexuality, mirroring, doubling, sameness and difference.

Both artists are motivated by a personal search for identity and an investigation of how gender is signified, constructed and performed. They have gravitated towards photographic masquerade as a means of performing ‘femininity’ in order to question culturally-imposed gender stereotypes. Lundgreen is a woman, Sayers cross-dresses.

Much of their work assumes a feminist perspective which gently and ironically illuminates and critiques the misogyny embedded in many aspects of our cultural heritage. They are looking for new opportunities to respond to historical collections in galleries and museums, and also wish to develop opportunities for making and showing work in a site-specific context.

In an installation currently running at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, entitled 'Changing Places,' the two artists have created art reinterpreting several of the pieces owned by the gallery, including the one above, inspired by Alma-Tadema's The Tepidarium. According to a write up about the exhibit,

19th century images that depict women as passive, submissive objects of male desire are of particular interest to them. Other themes, including gender, identity, myths, ageing and the architecture and ‘power’ of the galleries are also a focus for their work. The artists seek to connect our everyday experiences with precedents from art historical sources.

Another piece by Lundgreen explores the artwork The Punishment of Lust by Giovanni Segantini. In a film artwork, she is shown "'floating' in a similar way to the women depicted in "Punishment". There is a background which resembles that in "Punishment". Gradually the background moves down over the space of 15 minutes. Rikke remains floating and simply lies back looking upwards, to the side and raising her arm a bit from time to time. During the 15 minutes of the video, you hear a recording of her heart beating. At first you think "bloody pointless" but if you stick with it, it becomes compelling - the ordinariness of her "reality" is an interesting juxtaposition with the painting showing a woman in some mythical "unreal" (male)fantasy. Well that's how it works for me anyway. Nothing too profound but, quite compelling." (according to a quote from a viewer)

I would absolutely love to see this exhibit!


Unknown said...

another interesting reading, really i am learning so much here, tks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...that sounds quite fascinating! :D

Unknown said...

What a shame you couldn't get over to see these pieces. They're fascinating. Some are better than others. I saw them with my 78 year old father at it proved to be quite controversial... I've put some photos on flickr: and Interesting blog page on this, I must say! Best wishes to you. Bob

Grace said...

Hi Bob,

How wonderful that you got to see it! I'm quite impressed by the work of this duo.

I think if I ever got overseas to visit art museums, I'd never see the light of day again, there are so many things I'd love to see!!