press release

The first solo show of 2009 at the Fotogalleriet is Katja Høst’s project: The Second Sex. The title of the show derives from the classic book by Simone de Beauvoir carrying the same title, but in Høst’s work the male sex is the target of investigation and humoristic comment.

Women’s liberation has made the modern woman more conscious of the construction of her gender role, but the question remains whether she is equally aware of the impact she has on the construction of the male social sex role, a role she influences through her choice of partner. Women now have the power to define their "other" sex, but how is this power exercised?

Using her own experience as a starting point, Høst combines scientific theories with mass media's representations of gender and a woman’s point of view on gender issues. These multiple reference points are juxtaposed in an installation where seven videos shed light on different aspects of the male social sex role.

In the video Hangman we experience how the man is the first sex to be “hung” in a stereotype description when a woman is to answer on the man's behalf as well as her own. Instructual Interviews I and II presents a group of women’s thoughts on gender questions edited into the footage from two Instructional Film’s. These films were produced in large numbers during the 50's in the USA to promote moral etiquette and guidance on family values.

The works in the exhibition share one clear hypothesis; women participate in defining the male sex role. What remains unclear and open for discussion is how this power is put to use.

Katja Høst (*1972) received her formal training as an artist at the Institute for Photography at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. She has had solo exhibitions at galleries such as Articule, Montréal and Gallery 44, Toronto – and she had a show titled OPERAEN at the Oslo Central Train Station (Oslo S) and Kristian Frederiks Square, both in Oslo for the opening of the new national Opera at Bjørvika, Oslo in 2008. She has participated in group shows in institutions such as Kunstnernes Hus, UKS, The National Museum and Preus Museum in Norway as well as apexart, New York, Observatoire IV and Musee Just Pour Rire, both in Montréal. Later this year she will have a solo show at the Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter, in Svolvær. Høst lives and works in Oslo.

The Second Sex
Katja Host