‘In Hysteria’ brings together collage works by twelve contemporary female artists at Kunst Kan, a gallery space in Amsterdam’s bustling Jordaan area. With works ranging from video and performance to sculptural and 2D works, the exhibition presents collage as a versatile medium perfectly suited to explore femininity and channel female rage.
‘In Hysteria’ is the third manifestation of L’Age D’Or, a series of underground surrealistic art events inspired by Buñuel and Dali’s surrealist satirical comedy. L’Age D’Or exhibitions and film screenings present contemporary interpretations of surrealist themes and obsessions, including destruction, confusion, passion, fear, oppression, isolation, lov and humor. Within surrealism, collage has a special place. After all, collage techniques are all about letting go of control and letting imagination take over.
For this third manifestation, L’Age D’Or founder Baharak Dehghan invited collagist Lula Valletta as co-curator. Together, they invited artists that experiment within the art of collage and even question the very definition of collage.In fact, the exhibition itself can be considered a collage, as it brings together artists from different communities as well as different viewpoints on collage as a technique and medium.
Collage has long proven its artistic potential (think Picasso), but also reaches far beyond the art world. Think housewives making scrapbooks, teens gluing their idols in their diary, and designers making mood boards. Collage is used in commercial advertisements, newspaper illustrations, and punk flyers.For painters and sculptors, collage is often a way to sketch. Collage enables you to create a strong, evocative image with minimal effort. Its simplicity makes it an accessible, but seriously underrated art form. It is also one of the few artforms in the male-dominated art world practiced mostly by female artists. Why is that? Is it simply a matter of the female hand being suited for delicate cutting and pasting? Or is it the emotional struggles of female existence that makes women want to distort, tear,cut, and fold sense into it all?
‘Hysteria’ was once a common medical diagnosis for women, invented by men to keep women in their place. Emotional turmoil and a wide range of feelings, ideas, and experiences of women were attributed to this ‘condition’ and thus written off as abnormal and unwanted. In the 1980s, feminists started reclaiming the term, using it as a symbol of the systematic oppression of women. The participating artists elaborate on the invented condition of ‘hysteria’ by exploring femininity, vulnerability, passion, irrational differences, anger, and political viewpoints. Collage seems the perfect art form to liberate and bring together all these aspects. A female way of handling contradictions.
Baharak Dehghan, Bettina Hönig, Betty Klaasse, Caro Mantke, Eva Elaine, Gaye Black, Leonor Feaber-Jonker, Lula Valletta, Lydia Mojzis, Marjolijn van der Meij, Stéphanie Herremans, Tinca Veerman