Review of the Installation at Galerie Zwinger, Berlin
die tageszeitung, 19 March,1994
Review of the group exhibition "16 Rippen"
at the Gay Museum, Berlin
die tageszeitung, 20 December,1997
Akiko Hada's "Kaninchen haben keinen Mund (Bunnies have no mouth)". The reason behind it is that their mouths are closed shut with black sticky tape. Next to the video monitor, rabbits and other soft toy creatures are squashed inside a glass showcase. Akiko Hada doesn't quite treat the bunnies in a friendly manner. But in fact no one does, and that's why her video installation hits the heart of "being a woman". Any female knows that you are never held so responsible for something as you are for your gender, and never have to take a stance to anything as you must to this fact, about which you just cannot do anything. You learn the horror of being a woman slowly but continually.
And the fun of it, you learn with art. At least that's what the exhibition in the Gay Museum, organised by the Swiss curator Barbara Stauss under the title "16 Rippen (16 Ribs)", shows you. 16 female artists from Great Britain, Japan, USA and Germany look into the phenomenon of how the gender roles own us and how - even if we cannot escape them - we can cheat them in a politically provocating and artistically relevant way.
Sex is in the air when G.B. Jones shows her lesbian prison scenes à la Tom of Finland; when Astrid Chroszielewski lights up her transparent vagina sculptures that look like colourful bear-shaped fruit gums; when Ellen Cantor celebrates the pure sex with her pornographic drawings. The body is examined when Janina Saile photographs menstrating women and Sophie Rickett does the same with pissing women. Fashion comes into the picture with Cornelia Schmidt-Bleek, which she combines with text about the socialisation of her daughter which is trendy in the motherly way. Phyllis Baldino hands over the kitchen to a very innovative craftswoman, while Käthe Kruse simply puts a hairbrush, along with the hair hanging from it, on a white soap dish: The ribs do have quite a bit of flesh on them.