Belvedere 21, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Wien
16 March 2023 - 27 August 2023
In her latest exhibition, Constanze Ruhm sets out in search of a feminist way of seeing, aiming to shatter the male gaze and patriarchal image regime. In doing so she scrutinizes which connections to historic moments and figures from feminist movements are suited to being revisited and projected into the future.
The artist has chosen the broken mirror as a figure, visual metaphor, and as the layout of the exhibition at the belvedere21. It is rich in symbolism: the destruction of an ideal of beauty encapsulated by reflections in the mirror and their permanent appraisal; the fragmentation of a linear temporality; the painful shattering of a female self-image through violence, combined with the search for a new constellation, which has yet to be found but needs to remain always open and fragmentary. Last but not least, the mirror travels through time (“uno specchio che viaggia nel tempo”): images from cinema, photography, from the history of painting all appear reflected in its surface.
In two newly devised video installations, a series of photos, the arranging of archival material, and the presentation of works by other feminist artists from the beginnings of the Italian women’s movement in the 1970s—such as Suzanne Santoro and Marinella Pirelli—Constanze Ruhm makes feminist art and film history visible in the mirror of contemporary art. One of the key figures in Ruhm’s exhibition is the Italian feminist Carla Lonzi with her concept of a fractured, fragmented temporality as a way of arriving at a different kind of image, film, and ultimately consciousness.
After this shattering, the goal is to employ performative rituals, theatrical evocations, and ambiguous signals to piece the fragments of the puzzle together again, creating a different body and thus contributing to the rewriting of (feminist) history.
Text by Claudia Slanar / Curated by Claudia Slanar