What significance has women's headgear had in Danish history - and for the national identity? Renowned artist Trine Søndergaard explores topics such as identity, women's life and historical headgear in connection with the exhibition project 'From where we stand - 7 exhibitions on national identity', presented at the Skive Museum. The artist has explored the museum's cultural history collection of hats, kisses, scarves and hair jewelry from the 19th century and found inspiration for the exhibition's new works.
Trine Søndergaard (b. 1972) works with art photography as an expression, where a characteristic silence sets the tone in low-key portraits of women with covered faces or turned-away looks. For the exhibition at the Skive Museum, Trine Søndergaard has continued to work on themes that have occupied her in recent years. Here, women's history has been a major focal point, and in particular how this story can be linked to clothing that stands as both an expression of something cultural and personal.
Headgear with history
Trine Søndergaard's photographic language speaks to a current theme about our historical and national identity. Headgear, suits and ornaments are presented in a beautifully staged expression that holds a visual storytelling rather than a political stance. The exhibition at the Skive Museum will present new works in dialogue with some of the artist's previous work, including the series 'Strude' from 2007-2010, where young women are wearing the traditional Fanø costume, which hides large parts of the face to protect against wind and weather. The series 'Gold neck' (2012-2013) shows a distinctive 19th century headdress with neat gold embroidery popular with wealthy women, and the series 'Dress of Mourning' (2016) shows women wearing black mourning suits over their faces. Inspired by fashion photography, the historical clothing parts are staged in a new and current perspective. The young models wear their own modern clothes, and in this way the artist manages to link the past with the present. Trine Søndergaard has continued this work in the new works for the exhibition at the Skive Museum. The artist has been inspired by fine 19th century headdresses on the Skive region, which were worn for various reasons to cover hair and face, including some special hats. These were important garments for the women, marking the difference between married and unmarried, young and old as well as rich and poor, and at the same time signaled which region the woman came from. The debate of the time about our sense of nationality, Danishness and attitudes towards headwear creates a resonance in the quiet visual encounters that occur between time.
'From where we stand' - an exhibition
The exhibition is part of the project 'From where we stand - 7 exhibitions on national identity', which is a collaboration between seven different art museums: Randers Kunstmuseum, Horsens Kunstmuseum, Skovgaardmuseet, Holstebro Kunstmuseum , The Glass Museum Ebeltoft, the Museum of Religious Art in Lemvig and the Skive Museum. With reference to Skousen & Ingemann's iconic text from 1971 "From where we stand, we can look around - to all sides [...] It is changing at all times," the seven museums together with a wide range of Danish and international artists will rethink how we understand national identity today. Where does it come from? What does it consist of? What does it mean? And how is it treated in the arts?
The same seven museums were all part of the great exhibition collaboration The Seven Deadly Sins in connection with the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017.
The exhibition ”Trine Søndergaard. From where we stand - 7 exhibitions on national identity ”will be displayed at the Skive Museum during the period 28 September 2019 - 1 March 2020.