Laurence Philomene

Curated By Girls is a visual artist platform, run by Berlin-based French girl Laetitia Duveau. It focuses on diversity and equality. The website is all-inclusive – anyone and everyone can submit: all genders, all ethnicities, all body types, all generations… Taking a look at the artists featured on the platform, you will see a diverse patchwork representing an optimistic vision of humanity. The goal is to make everybody’s voice heard and respected.

Freer in Berlin is the new exhibition of Curated by Girls, on view on October 8 and 9 at Blender & Co in Neukölln. We sat down and chatted with Laetitia about her project, her curating vision, femininity, identity and the hipster aesthetic.

Carly Hunt

Jessica Barthel …..Stefanie Zofia Schulz……

Keith:
The collection of artists looks great! You say that the goal of the platform is diversity and inclusivity. What, then, would you say ties the whole project together? Is there a certain feeling or idea that runs through all of the work?

Laetitia:
Love
is the main tie on CBG. I’m not using the word only in a romantic way! It’s love, the real big one. Love for your brothers, love for your community, love for land, love for humanity as a whole! You can sense love in the work of all the artists on CBG. The idea is love! And when you love, it implies respect, naturally. Beauty is in all of us. We are all beautiful creatures, partly female, partly male.

K:
Your exhibition is called Freer in Berlin. Is freedom another aspect of love? Is there something about our city that specifically relates to your vision?

Ashley Armitage

Margherita Loba …… Brandy Eve Allen ………..

L:
Of course! Love is freedom. We may tend to think of love as possession and jealousy, but love is in fact freedom. Loving someone is being able to let that person be someone on her own.

Keith, I am a big fan of your text about Berlin, feeling freer in Berlin. There is something about Berlin that makes you feel like a very small thing, and very deep at the same time, and so inspired. As if you don’t need to be someone “important” to feel alive, and be creative. I decided to name the exhibit “Freer in Berlin” because we have to free ourselves from all the clichés and stereotypes many people may have in mind. The exhibit will show the femininity we all have inside and I feel like Berlin is a place where you can show that, and get heard by an open-minded audience.

K:
Totally.

I like the idea that we all have a femininity inside of us. Even as a straight male, there is something incredibly sympathetic about seeing women in pictures – I think it goes beyond the male gaze (of sexual objectification). Do you think girls embody this sort of love and freedom better than guys? Or is that just me? 😉 Why do we love pictures of females so much??

L:
I guess it is the type of clichés we have become used to! But things are changing slowly. We are breaking the domination of the male gaze, finally! That’s my perspective with CBG, representing any type of body and showing the beauty in all, the freedom in all.

So it is just you, Keith? 😉 Are you the last man on earth who thinks only women transpire freedom and love? I would tend to say a female body is way more beautiful than a man’s body but probably some other girls will think the opposite! In our western world, women symbolize purity, birth, virginity, fragility, fantasy, eroticism. While men represent power, strength! But as I said, it is our society that decides those stereotypes and they are slowly becoming obsolete. I have artists photographing men in a very feminine way, like Laurence Philomene. By photographing men with the delicacy usually reserved for women, she turns masculinity into an object the same way femininity has been objectified for so long.

Miriam Marlene Waldner

Victoria Zeoli …. Scarlett Carlos Clarke .

K:
I’m not totally convinced it’s just our society and not something more innate that creates gender roles. But either way, I think we can agree that it’s important for more diverse imagery and ideas to be out there than just supermodels and ads.

At the same time, I also don’t think the male gaze is disappearing any time soon! Perhaps it can be more openly acknowledged and thus less powerful as hegemony. But people will always seek what they’re attracted to, right?

L:
I’m not saying the male gaze has to completely disappear, of course… but it has to evolve!! It is nice to have different points of view, but we really need to reframe the image of women, and this is why the female gaze has to be empowered!

Yes people will always go for what they are attracted to, of course. I think it is interesting to break the rules of a dysfunctional system and alter what we have been fed for so long. Like you’re a boy you can’t wear pink. Really? You’re a girl so you’ll make less money…

K:
Traditional ideas need to be challenged. It is great to see the male form made delicate and lovely. Refreshing!

Switching to aesthetics, some people looking at Curated by Girls might describe it as “hipster”. What do you think of this word?

L:
Usually when you call someone else a hipster, means you are actually one yourself 😉

K:
That’s often true, yeah 🙂

Caroline Fayette

Elsa Kostic …… Philippe Duval.

L:
I think “hipster” has a fake connotation, which I don’t like… But is it just in France that we have a negative view of it ?

K:
No, it’s not just France!

L:
Or does it mean there is something cool and indie about the aesthetic?

K:
It’s a bit of an unhelpful, unclear word, I guess… It has a negative connotation everywhere, but is also somehow rooted in a cool, indie aesthetic created by artists. Often it is used dismissively, which can be a shame when there’s real cultural value.

It often bunches up many aesthetics into one large cultural movement.

L:
I think to have a larger range in life is better… I honestly never really like ghettos of any kind… artistic or whatever. That’s why I always bring up the idea of freedom because I don’t wanna follow one trend or one movement.

K:
Yes, perhaps we can agree that certain labels aren’t so helpful, and that language itself is limiting. Pictures are better.

L:
I agree!

Lina Mary Lebensfahrt

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