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

Planning the first exhibition of the year

triptych-720p

After the poetic exhibition of the «Myths Untold»-series before Christmas, the new year starts on a quite different note: a large series about shame! Today it is exactly ten weeks left to the opening of the exhibition «The Theatre of Shame» at the Vasli Souza gallery here in Malmö, Sweden. That will be ten weeks of interesting work: finishing, revising, producing, framing, marketing and hanging. And then: the opening on the 27th of March!

Yesterday I visited the gallery again to take measurements to plan the hanging, and to discuss plans with the curators. They have a couple of very interesting ideas for the exhibition and the opening, - I will tell you more later.

The works are a suite of post-photographic works, using fragmented self-portraits to tell a story about shame. The series of 24 works have been two years in the making, so I am very excited to show it to the public at last!
© 2017 Trygve Skogrand / The Bridgeman Art Library