press release

How does a man see himself as a man? How do women see men, and how do men see other men? And what do we associate with masculinity today in the first place, at a time when the development of society over the last the 30 years has so deeply affected the sexual roles?

Questions of this kind will be raised at the exhibition Masculinities, for which Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, has invited 17 artists - men, women, heterosexuals, homosexuals - who through their works in different ways reflect
 various conceptions of masculinity. 

The exhibition featured paintings, photography, video, installation and performance.

The exhibition was curated by research lecturer Rune Gade, University of Copenhagen, visual artists Benny Dršscher and Peter Nansen Scherfig, and Elisabeth Delin Hansen, Director of Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.

After a long period of focussing on femininity, the discussion of sexual roles has for a while now assumed a far more comprehensive character. It has not only become apparent that the two poles, masculinity and femininity, are connected like the two sides of a coin, but also that both are complex and broad terms.

The exhibition included contributions from artists of both sexes, since the theme was not merely masculine experiences but rather notions of masculinity - notions which may not necessarily be correct but which are stereotypes, held by men and women alike.

The correlation between art and gender is a complex one, embracing as it does social, political, historical, cultural, institutional as well as psychological elements. With Masculinities, Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, wished to demonstrate how contemporary art addresses the issue of masculinity from all of these angles. 

An important theme of the exhibition was to show masculine figures of desire as they come across in the Western culture of both homosexuality and heterosexuality. A number of artists focused on masculinity as it relates to sexuality and power, and desire and aggression thus became recurrent elements in the works of the exhibition.

Performance programme: At the opening, Friday November 2 from 4 to 6 p.m., there were performances by Peter Ravn Callesen, Janine Gordon and Gerd Holzwarth. Saturday November 3 at 3 p.m. there was a performance by John Oeivind Eggesboe. 

In connection with the exhibition Informations Book Publishers published an anthology of texts, also titled Masculinities, and edited by Rune Gade. 

In co-operation with and located at Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, the Danish National Research and Documentation Centre on Gender Equality, KVINFO, the newspaper Information, and the Institute of Art History and Theatre Research of the University of Copenhagen held a seminar on December 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The following artists were present in Copenhagen at the opening of the exhibition: Don Bury, Peter Ravn Callesen, Claus Carstensen, Benny Droescher, John Oeivind Eggesboe, Janine Gordon, Gerd Holzwarth, Elke Krystufek, Mike Sale and Peter Nansen Scherfig. 

The exhibition received support from the Danish Contemporary Art Foundation.

Don Bury (CA), Peter Ravn Callesen (DK), Ellen Cantor (USA), Claus Carstensen (DK), Benny Drøscher (DK), John Øivind Eggesbø (N), Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset (DK & N) Maria Friberg (S), Janine Gordon (USA), Gerd Holzwarth (D), Elke Krystufek (A), Paul McCarthy (USA), Tracey Moffatt (AUS), Jack Pierson (USA), Mike Sale (UK) and Peter Nansen Scherfig (DK).


only in german

Kuratoren: Rune Gade, Benny Drsscher, Peter Nansen Scherfig, Elisabeth Delin Hansen

mit Don Bury, Peter Ravn Callesen, Ellen Cantor, Claus Carstensen, Benny Droscher, John Oivind Eggesbo, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Maria Friberg, Janine Gordon, Gerd Holzwarth, Elke Krystufek, Paul McCarthy, Tracey Moffatt, Jack Pierson, Mike Sale, Peter Nansen Scherfig