Lesbian ConneXion/s – Introduction

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Lesbian ConneXion/s

Introduction | Gallery

Some day they will remember us

Lesbian ConneXion/s is the first large-scale traveling photo exhibition in Europe exploring the common theme of lesbian life, lesbian lifestyles and lesbian visibility. Sixty three photographers from fourteen countries tell a fascinating story of the diversity among lesbian women: couples, singles, in the closet, on the roof, motordykes, athletes, mothers, sisters… The images presented by both Eastern and Western European artists show us scenes from the daily life of lesbian women, tell us about their dreams and phantasies, their relationships with their children, mothers and sisters, what their night on the town looks like or how they practice their sport… They tell us about their friendships, their sexual and erotic relationships. They are a reflection of the bond that exists between them.

We wish to thank all the women who contributed to the Lesbian ConneXion/s project and to the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition.
We also would like to thank:
The photographers, for the way they let us share their fascination view on lesbian life, and for their permission to reproduce the color photographs in black and white; Mevrouw Brititte Grouwels, Vlaams Minister van Gelijke Kansen Beleid, who was the first to stress the importance of making a catalogue to accompany the exhibition; the City of Gent, who gave us the opportunity to exhibit the photographs in the prestigious Sint-Pietersabdij.

May this catalogue keep the memory of the Lesbian ConneXion/s project alive and never stop to inspire our imagination.

And the day after tomorrow

Lieve Snellings
Lesbian ConneXion/s Vlaanderen

Introduction by Traude Bührmann

“They will remember us…”

This was the title of our first circular letter – having one of Sappho’s fragments in mind – which Marian Bakker and myself sent in autumn 1995 to lesbian photographers all over Europe. It was also distributed at lesbian cultural events and published in magazines and on the internet.

The idea was to put an itinerary photo exhibition about the visibility and visions of lesbians, about their various ways of living and expressing them: there are as many ways to live and see as there are lesbians. We thought it fascinating to give these ways a face, an aesthetic image, creating a mosaic of multiple facets and moments in the sense of Lesbian ConneXion/s.

We asked for photos as report, fiction, experimental. In black & white, multicolour and all greyish tones.

Later on we organized information meetings in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ljubljana to discuss the project with interested photographers. We realized that for some of them the title Lesbian ConneXion/s was too broad, whilst others found it too narrow. A question of individual standpoint and identification as lesbian in a certain historical, political and cultural context. And: the more photographers are known, the less they were interested in participating in an exhibition called lesbian. Curiously we opened each envelope addressed to L. ConneXion/s. The red queen in front of the enveloped Reichstag appeared, playing accordeon… A gloomy pink sofa we wanted to fall on immediately… Eves in the Garden of Eden… feeding the angels… Romea en Juliette leaning lasciviously against steel banisters… Magic moments of dawn after a disco-night. Biting the cherry & backs & bottoms & lips showed up. Titles like my friend, my lover, myself. Yet only a few lesbians connected to an outside world, taking part in public life. We asked ourselves: Do lesbians really have conquered the night? Is it worth mentioning anymore? Maybe the slogan of the seventies “the personal is political” has become more significant than ever, has become an expression of the Zeitgeist. A self/portrait is a self/portrait.

Questions about lesbians & art, about subject & formgiving turned up: Does lesbian art exist and what does it mean? Who is a – lesbian – artist? What is lesbian about faces, figures, fingernails, about the presentation?

Several photographers for example presented their choice as a series of photos in the way of story-telling. Story-telling is the oldest female form of transporting experiences, knowledge, jouissance. But common opinion says that it is more professional to tell a story in one photo. What is professional? That what is taught in art-schools, what fits in the art-market? What about the aesthetics of the schråge Blick, the visibility of procedure? These points could be discussed during the workshops and meetings accompanying Lesbian ConneXion/s.

We thank all photographers participating in this project and Mama Cash in Amsterdam, Vlaams Ministerie Gelijke Kansen Beleid and Netwerk Vlaanderen who supported us from the beginning financially. Our thanks also to the jury-members and friends who helped enthusiastically to realize the exhibition. Special and future thanks to all those groups who put their energy in organizing the exhibition in their country.

By the itinerary character we wish to inspire, create and establish the exchange between photographers from different cultural and personal backgrounds, as well as between photographers and visitors. New photos and points of view are welcomed in each town where the exhibition will take place. To keep Lesbian ConneXion/s lively. Moving…