Title: Rivulus Dominarum
Dimensions: A5 (each segment)
IiiaiaAiih is a site-specific installation made for Grafisk Værksted in Næstved, Denmark. It was created and curated as a collaborate project by Pernille Holm and Sara Skaaning.
The inspiration for the installation was the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Denmark in 2015 – an occasion to reflect on women’s voice and identity today. For the artists, the starting point for doing so was the contemporary women’s magazine where popular and mostly stereotypical representations of women feature prominently. Having collected hundreds of such mass-produced images over the preceding months, Pernille Holm and Sara Skaaning re-articulated these as unique black and white monotypes. Collaged together as one long ‘tapestry’, titled Rivulus Dominarum, they filled one of the walls in the gallery installation. The effect is overwhelming: each print is unique – a crude, spontaneous, and expressive interpretation of the ‘ideal’ woman – yet altogether they look very much alike: monotonous, mechanical, and devoid of emotion.
Facing the wall of Rivulus Dominarum is Vox Femina, a large video projection of silent ‘screams’. Here, twelve women of different ages act out heart-wrenching existential screams for the viewer. Shot up close in slow motion, and reduced to black and white, one gets a good sense of what it takes – physically and psychologically – to ‘let it all out’ in this way. The laden emotion and basic instinctual behaviour exhibited by Vox Femina stand in sharp contrast to controlled and polite images of Rivulus Dominarum.
The final part of the installation IiiaiaAiih is a series of individual photo etchings of typographic expressions of ‘screams’. Taking inspiration from the onomatopoeic terminologies of comic books, the artists have created complements to, and parodies on the existential screams of Vox Femina, which are comparatively light, easy, and funny. Typographically, the onomatopoeic exclamations were sourced and collaged from the same magazines as the ‘portraits’ in Rivulus Dominarum; hence, one may recognise the odd typographic reference to well-known designer labels and brands in the composite words. With material and conceptual links to both Vox Femina and Rivulus Dominarum, the photo etchings of onomatopoeic ‘screams’ connect all discrete elements of the installation.