Gallery Duerr – Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson – Naked drag, in the power of the pose – April 22 to May 22, 2021 – Linnégatan 89B
ABOUT the artist
Cecilia is an artist born in Stockholm 1990, known for her large scale paintings of fleshy human bodies appropriating nude images from the media. Klementsson is currently doing a Masters in Painting at the Royal College of Art in London 2020 – 2022. Klementsson lived in Perth (AU) 2011 – 2016 where she received a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin University 2015. Klementsson has exhibited in Berlin, Leipzig, Perth, Stockholm and at Dragongate in Älvkarleby. Klementsson was also a three month artist-in-residence at Pilotenkueche in Leipzig October to December 2019.
“I paint fleshy naked bodies that are appropriating nudes from fashion advertising from the 90s to early 00s, by switching genders on the model and in making them come to life by extracting colours in the skin. The viewer then sees men pose like women and women pose like men in a transparent iridescent skin. My paintings are painted in oil using four colours only. I apply one colour at a time, like a manual silk screen printing process where each layer leaves traces of previous layers. By revealing the skin’s transparens the skin’s fragility is also revealed.
Silk screen printing has been much used in advertising since the 60s – the technique which started the conversation on the use of the body and the gaze in the first place. While oil painting has the ability to capture the skins fleshiness and make it come to life like no other medium.
I am interested in the 90’s and the 00’s because it is an era when big fashion brands particularly pushed the boundaries of nudes in their advertising, with Kate Moss and Calvin Klein in the forefront. That period is over today now that fashion brands are more concerned with being politically correct.
I have chosen poses from models and photographers I am fascinated by for their strong presence. Which in turn my models have as I adjust them until the pose and the gaze is the same. Yet I see tired gender norms and an always recurring flat monochromatic skin tone in this era I like to challenge. A surface that makes the nudes appear less naked and more sculptural.
Perhaps a strategy for 90s and 00s fashion advertising to get away with nudity. Still many of the adverts I have appropriated were reported and taken down in certain places. Such as Sofie Dahl for Yves Saint laurent’s Opium perfume that was banned in the US when it came out 2000.
The second aspect I challenge is therefore the gender norms I find while searching through the archives – women sensual but passive, men sensual but active. When the viewer is met with opposites the poses become more confronting, something is odd. In their suggestive poses the models in my painting dare the viewer to be attracted to them despite their colourful flaws.”
– Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson
“Naked Drag, in the power of the pose”, is Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson’s (b.1990) first solo show at Galleri Duerr since she became represented in September 2020 after her solo show in a container at Galleri Frihamnstorget in Frihamnen. Klementsson is currently in her first year of a Masters at the Royal College of Art in London and her solo show “Naked Drag” is informed by her Master’s dissertation with the same title. The dissertation explores the power of the pose in the body stripped of its clothes in the media as well as the art world. In relation to Judith Butler’s call for drag to expose gender for what it is—a performance, Klementsson takes it one step further in a naked, fleshy and morbid drag.
Klementsson paints fleshy bodies reinterpreting nudes from fashion advertising by switching genders and extracting colours in the skin. Klementsson takes the nude to naked in painted appropriations, and shifts these bodies from incorporeal to corporeal. Poses in the archives of 1990s and early 2000s fashion advertising feeds her work. This was an era when big fashion brands particularly pushed the boundaries of the nude, with Kate Moss in the forefront.
While Klementsson takes inspiration from the suggestive poses, she also twists them by having men pose like women, women pose like men, transwomen posing as ciswomen, or transmen posing as cismen – all to confuse gender to the point of ultimately becoming obsolete. Judith Butler called for drag to reach gender transgression through subversion, the parody and over-exaggeration expose gender to be a performance. When we are confronted with opposites, differences in male and female poses become all the more apparent with women seductive but passive, men seductive but active. https://www.ceciliaklementsson.com/
ABOUT the exhibition
Klementsson limits herself to four colours only, laying one colour on top of the other like a manual silk screen printing process. There is a paradox in the colours – they are beautiful yet uncanny as they reveal the fragility of the flesh. Klementsson deploys the mortality advertising avoids. Klementsson offers something odd while men pose like women in transparent iridescent skin, daring a viewer to be drawn to them despite their colourful flaws.
The poses pose the inevitable question: what happens when men are posed as women, and when women are posed as men? Klementsson is interested in asking the question and provoking thought rather than supplying an ultimate answer.
In leaving part of the painting unfinished, Klementsson reveals the skeleton of the painting—the underlying drawing. Klementsson deconstructs what a painting of skin is made of and also, metaphorically, what the skin is made of as layer by layer of pure colour is peeled away. While part of the painting is rendered to the point of a hyperrealistic iridescent skin, other parts are stripped down to their bones. Except here there is no flesh and bones. Instead, there is a drawing that reminds us of a map rather than the traditional drawing of a nude. Klementsson circle where the shadows begin and end rather than filling the shadows in with regular hatching techniques, just like a map encircles the corruption of the landscape – Klementsson circle the corruption of the body and all its ‘flaws’.
Klementsson lived in Perth (AU) 2011 – 2016 where she received a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin University in 2015. Klementsson has exhibited in Berlin, Leipzig, Perth, Stockholm, Gävle and Kettinge. Klementsson was a three-month artist-in-residence at Pilotenkueche in Leipzig from October to December 2019.
ABOUT the gallery
Galleri Duerr is happy to announce that we have recently been selected as a member of Svenska Galleriförbundet, the Swedish Gallery Association. Galleriförbundet, an international association for serious galleries with artistic integrity, expert knowledge and commitment, works long-term to disseminate and make visible the work of visual artists and includes the best galleries in Sweden. We are very excited and honoured to be a part of this prestigious organisation!
Founded 2008, Galleri Duerr believes art exhibitions are great ways to tell important stories of our time. With a clear vision of making contemporary art more accessible, Galleri Duerr has been operating since 2014 as a mobile gallery investing in cross-cultural meetings between different forms of art, artists and generations – national and international, emerging as well as established. Since Galleri Duerr’s start, it has had an exhibition program focusing on contemporary painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and design. The gallery is today a living forum for performance and exhibitions in various formats. The Gallery at Embassy House. Galleri Duerr has the pleasure to announce our new partnership as exclusive curator at Embassy House Linnégatan 89B/C, a co-working space with focus on start-ups in blockchain, fintech, VR, AI and music/art tech, making Embassy House our new home base. We are very excited about this new venture as an integral part of the music, art and culture program at Embassy House, and are looking forward to developing new meetings, collaborations, events, art talks and education programs exploring our new role as an evolving gallery space. The Gallery. a 360 sqm main event space at Embassy House Linnégatan, will be our primary exhibition space with rotating shows. We will also be hanging art throughout the entire space of 3000 sqm in a constant dialogue with Embassy House and the companies working here. We are also a partner gallery on Artsy online resource for art collecting and education. Our mission is to exhibit in a variety of public spaces with interesting collaborations, always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to reach out. Our exhibitions with Lydmar, for example, focus on highlighting female role models in photography. All work is for sale and is available for public viewing during our ordinary open hours, special events or by appointment, and can be seen here on our website as well as artsy.net. https://galleriduerr.com/
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