My shameful art

Stage

I know. Shame isn't a thing that we like to talk about. Of course we don't, because it is shameful in it self. But I think it is an important force in our world, shaping both lives and the society. And as it is rather a taboo to talk about, it works undetected.

There are several types of shame, I think, of varying depth and seriousness. From simple embarrassment over doing something daft, via moral shame over having hurt somebody, to the deep personal shame about being who you are.

It is this shame I make art about.

In the exhibition "The Theatre of Shame" I have used my own life story as a Christian homosexual as a starting point to tell a story of shame, the shame of belonging to one of society's subgroups.

As a member of society, one inherits society's values and prejudices. That is so even when the prejudices are against the sub-group oneself belongs to. So you end up with prejudices against yourself. In the artworks I discuss the hidden shame this creates – the deep, subconscious shame that says: I am not good enough, I am ugly, I do not fit in, I am all wrong.

Of course, being homosexual is not the only group that risks this. For example: Are you poor? Ill? Old? Too fat? Too thin? Has your skin the "wrong" colour? And so on and on. For centuries and centuries, and still in many parts of the world, a very large group of people was in such a group: Are you female?

Angel

When I started working with the artworks two years ago, I called the series "De-Shamed", thinking I was. Well. For now I call it "The Theatre of Shame", meaning the private theatre inside of each one of us where the small story of shame is played out, with yourself as actor, playwright and audience. But of course - in one way one may as well call all of society "The Theatre of Shame" as well.

The artworks are post-photographic works. Using my own disclosed, naked body as the artistic raw material, each image is built up as a collage of a large series of nudes, combining to create a new figure. The landscape this constructed figure inhabits, is also a constructed collage of realities. So it is all in the mind, it is all constructed. But still so very true, I am afraid.

Corridor cramped

Some of the artworks from "The Theatre of Shame" series has been exhibited in London and on the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. In March and April the whole series will be exhibited for the first time, at the Vasli Souza Gallery in Malmö, Sweden. I am very excited to show this series
© 2017 Trygve Skogrand / The Bridgeman Art Library