Nicolai Tangen has aimed to find forgotten or neglected artists from this era, including female artists. The “Pioneers of Modernism” exhibition focuses on no fewer than 33 of these women, giving them the attention they deserve. This exhibition has received rave reviews and may be enjoyed until August 2021.
Although the new political, economic and social freedom of the early 1900s allowed women to participate more in public life, biology was still being used as an argument for restricting women’s participation in society. Women might have the right to vote, but they were rarely allowed to decide. They should preferably be good housewives, quiet mothers and wives and represent traditional bourgeois values; values that contrasted starkly with the modernists’ masculine focus on technological development, industrial workers and political activism. The reality was different, of course. Women were at least as active during this era as men, perhaps more so. Nevertheless, the innovative and pioneering female artists of this era and their works were often thought of as trivial, while the era as a whole was defined as more or less devoid of women.
Separate women’s exhibitions have become increasingly common since around 2010, nationally as well as globally. Our present era is often called fourth-wave feminism, and it is characterized by an approach to gender which is more eclectic than previously. This means that equal opportunity is no longer just a matter of gender, but also of race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexual orientation, functional ability and all other important markers of identity that we humans face the world with. Social movements like #metoo and #blacklivesmatter support the claim that our world is now in a new revisionist phase where we look critically at how history has been defined and narrated. The Pioneers of Modernism is a part of this global wave.
Gunnvor Advocaat / Else Alfelt / Synnøve Anker Aurdal / Anna-Eva Bergman / Agnes Cleve / Siri Derkert / Else Fisher-Hansen / Else Hagen / Sigrid Hjertén / Tora Vega Holmström / Tove Jansson / Dora Jung / Irma Salo Jæger / Gudrun «Nusken» Jørgensen / Rita Kernn-Larsen / Else Christie Kielland / Berit Soot Kløvig / Gudrun Kongelf / Julie de Holmberg Krohn / Oda Krohg / Sonja Ferlov Mancoba / Vera Nilsson / Doro Ording / Sidsel Paaske / Aase Texmon Rygh / Teddy Røwde / Sigrid Maria Schauman / Joronn Sitje / Inger Sitter / Mouche Thomsen / Elsa Thoresen / Nína Tryggvadóttir