┐ Birgit Jürgenssen └
“Other artists of the feminist avant-garde, such as Hannah Wilke, Eleanor Antin and the abovementioned Martha Rosler went even further and were even more radical in their critique on the domestication of women within marriage. With the help of performance, video, installation or photography they protested against a housewife’s fate as a cleaning lady, cook and “prostitute” – as a cheap labour and at any times disposal for the husband. Taking into account that these gender conceptions were widespread cultural and normative ideals in European, and Western societies, one understands that women in the 70ies had a hard time in professional and public spheres.
Elisabeth Bronfen also picks up the topic of the subject and the ‘self’ in her contribution “Self-Irony as a autobiographical strategy” where she points out, that Jürgenssen explicitly questioned the idea of a direct, immediate access to one’s self. Rather, she says, the self is constituted via complex interplays between inner and outer forces and dynamics, one cannot get rid of, one cannot detach and dissociate from. The I in the other, the other in the I (Wie erfährt man sich im Anderen, das Andere in sich) was the title of Jürgenssen’s exhibition at the Gallery Hubert Winter in 1985. Therein she reflected the gaze of the other upon oneself, and how it affects one’s own identity construction. Is a genuine self-creation in a male dominated society possible at all? Jürgenssen’s artistic strategy to face this was an ironic play of experiments of self-analysis, abundantly shown in her photo series and graphic work. She does not re/claim a female virility, but ridicules the concept of virility and male supremacy altogether. In an interview with Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein she stated that she uses self-irony as a strategy to mediate subversive and deconstructive potentials. It was never her intention to search for a genuine female identity, but to question and overcome constructive mechanisms of identity formation altogether. „The person is a product of combinatorics, more or less stable”, she said in another interview. This is a statement gender-theorists can only sign into. But the possibility of self-realization, of choosing one’s own “combinatorics” is possible only where gender and other social constraints do not bind any longer.”
Read the entire text by Natascha Gruber here
Brigit’s work can be seen here