Interview#26: Elinore Linden Strand

Lindén Strand has worked as curator, project manager and gallery manager in varying projects since 2006. Her ambition is to show what art is and what it could be. She often attempts a focus at young un-established artists.

Lindén Strand has had a great international exchange, foremost with artist and organisations in New York, London, San Francisco, Helsinki and Berlin.

She currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

RAP invited her to be part of Queer Creatures for Supermarket 2012 and now it’s time to be interrogate her a little. Do check out her works here.

Question (Q): Tell us more about the works you lend us for Supermarket!

Elinore Linden Strand (Elinore): Woman is the most depicted “object” throughout art history but to portray and to objectify men, to let your eyes linger at their bodies – that’s close to taboo…

I’ve started to collecting pictures of boys and men – both images which stands out and shows different masculinities, but also pictures which entirely follows the white, western idea of what a man is supposed to look like and how he is supposed to be.

For me, depicting men is an adventure, a new found hobby of mine which gives me new perspectives. In my collages I mix old and new, pretty and ugly, haute couture and trash…

By depicting a person you also objectify, and to objectify men is to make them available for your gaze…

In gender theory one talks about a “male gaze” objectifying women, but with an objectification of men – is the gaze female?

Most professional artists are men but does their objectifying of men automatically make them gay? And what happens to the persons viewing the artwork?

Q: It is interesting to see a female artist speaking about male representation! When a male artist does so, it is almost every time that it is considered to be ‘gay work’, but it is an interesting feedback from female perspective. What do you feel about this.

Elinore: Well, to be honest with you, I feel a bit gay! 😉

I love to look at men, to let my camera lens be curessed by their tender loins and smooth chests… I always fall in love with men who don’t share the traditional appearance of Man – men who riot against what a man is, and how he is supposed to look, talk and live his life.

It’s not so much that I’m obsessed with gay guys (although that might be part of the truth), it’s just that I’m fed up with the idea of normality!

Of course there’s also a lot of different ideals among gay men.

Most of the gay men in Sweden want’s to live an everyday life with a nice job, a great husband and a couple of cute kids.

There’s been an exotification of gays, bisexuals and transsexuals for so many years now because of the underdog position and radical culture… I think that a lot of people in the (Swedish) gay scene feel used and exploited… like it’s not their revolution.

At the same time – being different and being queer is in itself to riot against a society which many times forbid you to be who you are. To me that’s far more important than passing as something “close to normal”.

Q: You do photograph works too. Tell us more about your general practice.

Elinore: I guess I have the same kind of thoughts and ideas showing in all of my art, regardless of the craft or the material I use. The thing that’s most interesting with photography is that I mostly work together with a model. I always ask my models what they want with the pictures. I work with both mine and their ideas and it’s great to have the input from someone else.

My models always have the best ideas! 🙂

Q: Originally from Sweden, how do you see the queer art culture there?

Elinore: Well, there’s not so many places and spots which define themselves as queer and there’s no gallery which promotes it self as gay.

Sweden is quite a small place. By putting a label on something you may include people and make them feel welcome but you also automatically exclude other people and I guess that’s no good for the business.

Even if most gallery-owners are actually gay, they need all the money they can get, especially now during the financial crisis, so most people don’t define their gallery in any kind of controversial matter…

I started my gallery ART:UP in 2009 and I choose to promote it as queer. It’s a really small gallery and right now I don’t even have a place for it.

When I started it in 2009 I got to rent a great gallery space for free by my friend Leif Jacobsson – that was the nicest thing ever! I got to be there for half a year right in the center of Stockholm without having to worry about how to pay the rent! 🙂

Now ART:UP mostly appears at different festivals but maybe I’ll get a place for it again some day. I like not having to depend on money, therefore I wouldn’t really like to rent a place for the gallery.

I think that economy puts a very heavy load on most art and I don’t like that. You can’t sell a performance-act or an art video… Every kind of art which can’t be sold as a product will have a really hard time even getting halfway into a gallery.

I’ve had several negative comments about my art, people say it would never fit on a living room-wall, but why should it?!

Q: I like the term ‘queer’, what do you think it means?

Elinore: I really like it to! 🙂

I’m very fond of it’s original meaning – weird or strange. I don’t want to define what’s queer or who’s queer because I think that queer is all about indistinguishable!

Q: Now that you’ve just settled down in Berlin, what are your plans?

Elinore: My plan is to get some new energy and new ideas! I’ve already met so many interesting people here! 🙂 It’s nice to be in a bigger town cause it brings so much more diversity! I really like the art scene here (both the street-art and the fine art-galleries) and there’s so much creativity at every corner! Also Berlin is a bit special as it’s the fetish heart of Europe! 😉

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