Catrine Val
The female wisdom

Statement

What it means to be a woman now is always my guide. All my projects bring together the past, present, and future highlighting how genuine change can emerge from the public sharing in the complexities of the female experience.

As an artist and researcher I have travelled to Asia, Africa and South America to explore the traditions of women´s wisdom. My work aligns with a growing wave of scholarship on gender issues. I try to find possibility for an alternative worldview that can help human beings symbolize their time, place, and obligations in a way that accords more closely with science in harmony with a sustainable future. As an artist, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality.

 

Word Matters
The art world was always feeded in enduring clichés.
What does it mean, to be a feminist in the art world? Who defines it, and how does it relate to past achievements of being a woman in the art context?

For centuries, in art as in philosophy and so many more branches of the society, women were systematically excluded from the records of art history. Even today we have  to make sure that women artists achieve the historical recognition. Now with the young as powerful Women net artists 2.0 entering not only through the #metoo debate, the Internet and social media, allows these digital natives princesses to have their voices heard. The way we use our phone as trophy, sobering the way most art is viewed in today’s saturated, digitally mediated culture.  Every new generation refreshes a  new wave of feminism and priorities.

Feminism in the 21st century carries a huge and deeper, more diverse range of voices and interests than ever before.  Thinking of my own timeline, in this time of constant, rapid change we are more and more dominated by a flood of narcissism and an obsessive cult of self-expression. Coming from a political left wing background, I began to study art in such  a different area . “Catrine, you cannot manically produce beautiful images on your canvas!” Beauty was a dirty word as it was linked to weakness of feminity . It took me years to find my own vision, still searching. Shaken up on the inside, moving and raging on the outside. I wanted to show that I can also be a woman as an artist. This is still not self-evident. For more than four years I was working as the tutor and assistant of  the Gender Icon and media artist Valie Export. Her own struggle for recognition as a woman stands as a memorial for other so many female artists. She was terribly shocked by the birth of my second child, she thought I had failed as a young artist.

Thanks to the pervasive nature and speed of modern and global communications, we are becoming more aware that equality and differences between the sexes are intertwined with questions of cultural differences (including religions), ethnicity, class, wealth/poverty and power.But to be visible, not only art needs classification. Supporting cultural production as a form of activism, feminist artists took politics to the realm of aesthetics on the basis that art reflects and sustains social formations of gender and power.

Today in times of hunger for information’s with one easy access to knowledge, undeniably, the media, particularly visual media and the power of the  internet—has fuelled the revival of feminism’s core issues. These changes reflect the complexity of difference and identity formation, a shift that has been fuelled by scholarly work in the areas of, gender studies, critical race theory, and feminist studies.
Still in practise the female gaze is juxtaposed with the dominant male gaze which objectifies the female body and defines the position of the woman as passive.  The awareness of  visual consumption of women’s bodies and political debates over how to control them has only grown in the age of the internet, under their own, female control. It shines through.

Art is mirroring life and this is still one taboo, in my country were working mother are still called Rave mothers, and which always has to stay in secret, desperately when you are still one so called “emerging artist”, we don´t speak about. Being a female Feminist artist is one spicy aspect, but to open up and to tell that you are a mother, and even having more kids. As art is supposed to be an all-consuming enterprise, it can kill the career like a bubble gum and the hope what they gave in you, immediately.As an artist, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality. I believe that the art world is slowly warming to the idea that great artists can also be great females and mothers. This intensity shouldn´t be  hindrance — it’s an extraordinary gift for art. I´m Interested in the slow harvesting of hidden truth from the ordinary places that most of us pass by. Where we find our identity.