Who´s a feminist artist?

Updated: Apr 28

In my studio

I can't help it, I always come back to these lonely women in nature. Engaged with simple tasks like doing the dishes, making a fire, encounter an animal, sleeping, walking, being at peace.

Other subjects can inspire me and I explore it with great enthusiasm, usually when I get tired of these stagings of myself. Because that's how I make these pictures. Something I've experienced, the doing, the being, an experience that has struck a chord in me that I then reconstruct in my studio.

Right now I'm reading "The King Kong Theory" by Virginie Despentes . The book has made me anxious. Opened doors into forgotten places.

Virginie Despentes is a feminist, the shrill kind, a punk feminist. She writes about taboos, about porn, about rape, about our society and culture yesterday and today. She tells about how she and a friend were gang-raped when she was young and how she worked for a couple of years as a prostitute. She touches on the power play between women and men, between notions of weakness and power, freedom and dependence, with an energy and clarity that I can't shake off and that I find I wont shake off either.

I have never been particularly interested in entering into an active political feminist context, nor have I ever imagined that my art would be driven by my feminist or political views. I've never wanted to be seen as a red-stocking, although I've always been pissed off when I've experienced prejudice, condescension and inequality.

But this book makes me think.

When I was at art school in Stockholm, I had a studio in an industrial space for a while. I was making huge paintings on tarpaulins to be used for a club. One of my male classmates came by to check them out. I have never forgotten his comment, but I remember my reaction even more.

He said, "How cool, you wouldn't believe it was a girl who did them." Instead of taking it as an insult, I got very proud and took it as a compliment.

Of course, this was in the eighties and no one who goes to art school today would probably even consider the idea of dividing or valuing art from a gender perspective. Thankfully!!!

But aside from his stupid and prejudiced comment, what's more interesting is what the reaction says about me. Looking back, I have always wanted to be one of the boys rather than the ridiculed girl, looked down on because she was perceived as sensitive and weak. I loathed sensitive and weak. I neither wanted to be the girl that throw a ball like a girl, be a needy chick or paint meno paintings.

So I didn't want to be perceived as sensitive or weak but the biggest reason for this is not what I have imagined all these years, which was that the person I am simply doesn't like to be subjugated to anyone, but for something completely different, which has been much harder to cope or letting come to the surface properly. Something that dawned on me when I read Dispentes book

I have simply not wanted to arouse any reason whatsoever for a man to have a problem with me. Getting in the way or needing help can arouse a man's irritation and anger. And angry men are what I fear the most.

Of course I grew up in an angry house. My adoptive father was a ticking bomb, who at any time, and sometimes for incomprehensible reasons, exploded into fits of anger and a few times it came to blows. The first time I had sex turned into an act where I got violently forced. And once I "settled down" and got married, it was predictably enough to the same type of man. The angry unpredictable kind.

Nature was the place I disappeared into, to escape the tensions at home. It was where I experienced beauty, a sense of security, of belonging, in nature I could be free for a while. It was a place where I didn´t have to be on my toes, change to be liked or approved.

Why do we express ourselves the way we do?

I've always thought of myself as a kind of transmitter. Art as a reality in itself that "selects" its artist and borrows her personality to transmit through.

Many artists revolve in various ways around trauma and personally significant events, Many times incredibly exciting art comes out of this.

However, although I have often used my own history as a kindling, once the subject has come into place, I have emotionally pulled back to let something else come in and process it.

But now I see how things is stitched togheter and how I am far more engorged in the subjects of my motives than I thought I was. A narrative is set long time ago. And I continue painting this women becuase its what I know.

It gives me a possibility to create a scene where tension and releif exists at the same time.

Its personal but its also unpersonal becuase it holds within the female history.

Animal. Women. Human. Inkdrawing 135 x 100 cm