Ronit Eden. Concept & Spatial Design offers curatorship and exhibition design
© Ronit Eden. concept & spatial design
Design: Cubicle Design
Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2012
International Artists Address the Boundaries of Gender, curatorship and exhibition design
One of the major issues addressed by Virginia Woolf in her 1928 novel Orlando is, to which sex is it better to belong.
At the age of 30, Orlando, who was a man his entire life wakes up, following a whole week of sleep, as a woman. During a journey back to her home in England she tries to come to terms with her new situation. She tries to understand what the disadvantages are, and mainly, what the advantages are of becoming a woman.
“….And here it would seem from some ambiguity in her terms that she was censuring both sexes equally, as if she belonged to neither; and indeed, for the time being, she seemed to vacillate; she was man; she was woman; she knew the secrets, shared the weaknesses of each. It was a most bewildering and whirligig state of mind to be in. The comforts of ignorance seemed utterly denied her. She was a feather blown on the gale. Thus it is no great wonder, as she pitted one sex against the other, and found each alternately full of the most deplorable infirmities, and was not sure to which she belonged -….” p. 145
Orlando remains a woman, but every now and then she chooses to "revert" to her former gender, dressing as a man and going out to re-experience the advantages of the other sex.
As aforesaid, in the group of works in the exhibition, the artists "visit" the other sex. They challenge or cross the customary, traditional lines of gender affiliation: What a woman is supposed to do, or how a man should behave, and what the dress code or body language befitting each sex are. They employ these to question the boundaries of sexual definition, whether such lines truly exist and where they are drawn.
As Virginia Woolf continues and writes: “….Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above. Of the complications and confusions which thus result everyone has had experience;….” p. 171-172