Gasworks presents SECOND SEX WAR, a solo exhibition by London-based artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen.
Meineche Hansen produces exhibitions, interdisciplinary seminars and publications that foreground the body and its industrial complex, in what she refers to as a ‘techno-somatic variant of institutional critique’. Her research-led practice has taken the form of woodcut prints, sculptures and CGI animations, often made by combining her own low-tech manual craft with outsourced, skilled digital labour.
SECOND SEX WAR includes three new commissions: a pornographic CGI animation, a series of laser-cut drawings on plywood and a large-scale ceramic relief, which are presented alongside existing works. The exhibition explores the commodity status of 3D bodies in X-rated digital image production, while also reflecting on the artist’s working conditions and relationships – with her peers, the avatar EVA v3.0, Gasworks and digital arts studio Werkflow Ltd.
Made by freelance 3D designer Nikola Dechev, EVA v3.0 is a royalty-free product sold online by TurboSquid, a company that supplies stock 3D models for computer games and adult entertainment. EVA v3.0 features as a central character and object of research in several of Meineche Hansen’s recent works, which explore the overlap between subjects in real life and objects in virtual reality, focusing on their accumulation by capital through the gender binary.
The woodcut print HIS CORPORATE CUNT ART, credit Nikola Dechev (2016), for example, illustrates the ‘morph control’ function of EVA v3.0’s vagina, taken from its user manual. EVA v3.0 also features in augmented, hyper-sexualised form in the new CGI animation DICKGIRL 3D(X) (2016), which appropriates ‘genitalia props’ and readymade ‘pose sets’* used for animating sex scenes to explore post-human porn production from within. Directed by the artist and produced with digital arts studio Werkflow Ltd, the animation is presented in two formats: on a gaming PC and virtual reality headset as part of the installation SECOND SEX WAR ZONE (2016), which includes a bed-like bean bag in vegan leather; and on a flat screen TV suspended from a DIY BDSM* structure, inspired by artists Sheree Rose and Bob Flanagan’s explicit, sadomasochistic practice.
Like the related laser-cut drawings iSlave (non-dualistic) and Wannabe Dickgirl (both 2016), this display structure proposes a sexual and embodied relationship to technology, which involves both domination and submission. In addition, the wall-mounted ceramic sculpture Cite Werkflow Ltd (2015) provides an imprint of Meineche Hansen’s face in fleshy pink clay, which mimics, in craft form, the process by which human bodies are scanned and digitised for online consumption.
Also on view, the existing CGI animation No Right Way 2 Cum (2015) – a feminist ‘cum shot’ video featuring EVA v3.0 – and the composite drawing Methylene Blue Diluted by Female Ejaculation (2014) were both made in response to the British Board of Film Classification’s recent ban on female ejaculation in UK-produced pornography. Both works are inspired by the sex-activist workshops on female ejaculation run by pro-sex feminists such as Deborah Sundahl and Susie Bright, the former editors of On Our Backs, the first lesbian erotica magazine run by women for women.
Finally, the large-scale clay relief Cultural Capital Cooperative Object (2016), made together with artists Manuela Gernedel, Alan Michael, Georgie Nettell, Oliver Rees, Matthew Richardson, Gili Tal and Lena Tutunjian, aims to congeal the group’s cultural capital into a cooperatively owned object. Inspired by Meineche Hansen’s interest in Asger Jorn’s permanent 1956 ceramic interior design commission for the Statsgymnasium in Aarhus, Denmark, this non-permanent work alludes to the artist’s position in relation to the wider institutional context that frames – and conditions – this new commission: Gasworks’ recent £2.1 million redevelopment.
NB. Gasworks would like to inform visitors that this exhibition contains imagery that some may find offensive or disturbing, including images with violent and sexual content. It is not suitable for minors.
SECOND SEX WAR is commissioned by Gasworks in partnership with Trondheim kunstmuseum, where the exhibition will open on 12 June 2016.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Städelschule in Frankfurt a.M. and Goldsmiths in London. In 2009 she founded the research collective Model Court together with Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lorenzo Pezzani and Oliver Rees, and in 2015 she co-edited Politics of Study (London and Odense: Open Editions and Funen Art Academy). She is a London-based artist who also currently works as an associate professor at the Funen Art Academy, Denmark and will be a visiting scholar at CalArts in Los Angeles in autumn 2016.
Her recent exhibitions include: NO RIGHT WAY 2 CUM, Transmission, Glasgow International, Glasgow; FLUXESFEVERFUTURESFICTION, Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao; Liquid Identities, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg; Visceral Blue, La Capella, Barcelona (2016); Uncanny Valley, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Rehearsals in Instability, Andreas Huber Gallery, Vienna; ONE-self, Temporary Gallery, Cologne and Künstlerhaus Bremen (2015); INSIDER, Cubitt, London, Schizo-Culture: Cracks in the Street, SPACE, London; J’ai froid, castillo/corrales, Paris and Late Barbarians, Gasworks, London (2014).
Her recent seminars include: What is an art work doing? (together with Andrea Fraser), Wattis Institute, San Francisco (2016); This is not a symptom, South London Gallery (2014–15); Methylene Blue diluted by Female Ejaculation, SPACE gallery, London ; Why does Fred Sandbeck’s work make me cry?, Cubitt, London and If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution, Amsterdam; and HIS HEAD, Gasworks, London (2014). Meineche Hansen has also recently presented artist talks at the Serpentine Gallery and LUX, London; Witte de With, Rotterdam; and 98 Weeks, Beirut (2015).