Identity and gender roles are central themes for the artist Mathilde ter Heijne, who lives in Germany. Her artworks, which deal with the media representation of female victims of violence, have been shown in exhibitions around the world. The Museum für Neue Kunst in Freiburg has organised a solo exhibition of Mathilde ter Heijne’s works, based on the construction, performativity and negotiability of gender roles. How do culture and history shape gender roles? What lines of discourse influence gender identity and to what extent are people free to express their gender? In addition to her past works, the project also included pieces specially created for the exhibition. Mathilde ter Heijne developed a performance about dealing with gender roles, in which the roles could be varied and expanded as desired. The visitors could rehearse activities and scenarios which would normally evoke resistance or which they wouldn’t dare to act out in real life. The focus has been on observing, experimenting and working with one’s body. The Museum für Neue Kunst in Freiburg was cooperating with numerous institutions in Freiburg and offered an extensive, interdisciplinary programme to supplement the exhibition. For example, the Archaeological Museum in Freiburg explored the theme of gender roles in its own parallel exhibition, titled “Ich Mann, du Frau. Feste Rollen seit Urzeiten?“ (“Me Man, You Woman. Fixed Roles since Primeval Times?”), which investigated the prehistoric roles of men and women and their relevance in modern times. Mathilde ter Heijne also developed a new piece which made reference to the exhibits at the Archaeological Museum. In another collaborative project, dancers explored and transformed idealised gender images. Corresponding performances and workshops have been offered. Further cooperation partners included the Gender Studies department at the University of Freiburg and the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health.
Director: Christine Litz
Curator: Sophia Trollmann
Artist: Mathilde ter Heijne (NL)