Review, Harald Fricke, on January 9.

in the Berlin newspaper TAZ


 The Harder They Come...
demapping masculinity


Curator: -Peter Nansen Scherfig

-Don Bury
-Benny Dröscher
-John Oivind Eggesbo
-Janine Gordon
-Gerd Holzwarth
-Jesper Just
-Thomas Michalak
-Peter Nansen Scherfig
-Ingo Taubhorn

Artists installing the exhibition on January 4.

January 9. - February 9. 2002

Opening January 5. from 7 - 11pm


"The Harder They Come" is a follow-up to "Soft Guys For Hard Times;" the exhibition is a further investigation of the subject of masculinity in art. "The Harder They Come" continues, furthermore, the discourse set out in the show "Masculinities," which opened November 2nd at the Nikolaj-Center for Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, in which Scherfig, and several other artists represented in the current exhibition at Sparwasser HQ, were also involved.

While feminist studies throughout the eighties and nineties brought gender discussion to a wide audience and helped rethink the female role in public, male self-representation was a rarely explored subject. "The Harder They Come..." is an investigation of male and female, gay and heterosexual artists' attempts to articulate a public role for male self-consciousness.

The different positions emerging in cultural spheres worldwide are reflected by the artists in a variety of media.

Don Bury's video shows the change of perspective in a shortened version of the film "Saturday Night Fever," starring John Travolta. By sampling material from the film, he changes the narrative of the scenographic statement.

Benny Dröscher's installation develops an associative space, in which a narrative emerges from attributes and fragments of fairytales.

John Oivind Eggesbo depicts companionship among youth wanting to find a way through role models. He portrays young boys on the ferry trip between Stockholm and Helsinki, using alcohol as a demonstration of manhood.

New York based artist Janine Gordon relates differently to her friends than to the male subculture. In a personal and subjective manner, she shows man as an object of desire, going beyond the simplicity of "who is looking at whom."

Gerd Holzwarth's work deals with power relations at the surface of a social construction that mixes desires and dreams with individual positions and hierarchy in the public realm.

In the video by Danish artist Jesper Just, a middle-aged man loses self-control when unable to handle a minor, everyday problem. In so doing, he highlights the notion of keeping up appearances.

In the biographic work titled "100 friends," Thomas Michalak assumes the erotic connotations of underwear advertisements and re-presents the image to the spectator. The out-of-focus photographic technique retains the superficial quality of the image, refusing to allow a personal conspiracy with the object advertised.

The work of Peter Nansen Scherfig deals with the small gap between desire and male power relations. His ambivalent representations explore the appropriation of the skinhead image by gay men. The uncertainty of the viewer brings focus to the conflict between the classical notion of hierarchical male role models and the attractiveness of men in power.

Ingo Taubhorn's work investigates his origins. Portraying himself dressed in his mother's clothing, he blurs the distinctions between male and female, behavior and being.


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