The international group exhibition The Laugh of the Medusa focuses on the socio-cultural conditions of women, more specifically, how women experience their bodies and sexuality in a patriarchal world. The aim of the exhibition is to offer alternatives to the image of women pervasive in the media and share what women see through their eyes – what limits them, what they desire and what appeals to their gaze.
Curated by Maria Helen Känd, The Laugh of Medusa showcases artworks that invite viewers to critically think about how women have been (art) historically subjected to men and their imagination and analyse how women are still represented in a rather one-dimensional manner in the media. The title of the exhibition is adapted from the legendary essay by the feminist author Hélène Cixous, titled The Laugh of the Medusa (1975). In this essay, Cixous encourages women to take their body back for themselves from the constraints of men’s imagination, to express their sexuality freely and write through their body to be emancipated. Inspired by Cixous’ text, the exhibition showcases a more diverse image of women, where women can be more than just mystical and delightful beings or wicked witches. Rethinking the myths of the past and suggesting new imagery makes it possible to accept different bodies and experiences of womanhood.
The participating artists Salla Tykkä and Chupan Atashi focus on experiences of oppression, touching upon themes like the gaze, perspective and power. Pauline Curnier Jardin and Ly Lestberg go against stereotypical ideas about women’s roles and their relationship to their body, while also valuing the aging body. Terje Ojaver and Kris Lemsalu take a more playful approach to womanhood, highlighting the power of women through fantastical scenes and characters. Anna-Stina Treumund’s and Young Joon Kwak’s works bring lesbian desire to the fore and offer a possibility for emancipation to all, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Programme at the opening night on 27 October:
17.00 Public guided tour together with the curator and artists
18.15 Opening speeches
18.30 Opening party at EKKM. DJs: Florian Wahl and Mari-Anna Miller
On 8 December, the musician Maria Faust gives a solo concert as part of the exhibition.
Exhibition The Laugh of Medusa is open Wed-Sun, 12.00–19.00 until 17 December 2023.
The exhibition is supported by Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Mondriaan Fund, City of Tallinn.
Tour with the curator