MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Anna Aagaard Jensen
Introduce yourself and what you do.
My name is Anna Aagaard Jensen. I’m a designer living in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. I have a bachelor in Furniture from KADK (Royal Danish Academy) and a master’s in fine arts & design from Design Academy Eindhoven. I work within the tension field between art and design, where I create sculptural objects with a focus on the representation of women, the female body and the feminine as I see and experience it. In addition to my own practice, I am part of the artist and design collective Morph and I am teaching at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy of Art & Design in Amsterdam.
In my work, I try to create alternative narratives to reality through my objects. Design that extends beyond its own functionality. In my work, it is important to me that the woman is at the center. In my projects I try to make room for the female body to be in physical coexistence with the objects - for example by bringing a different function into play. Or by leaving the objects alone and telling a different story that represents a shortcoming in our everyday lives.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
Being a woman has created my career - and is my career. The starting point (with my own practice) is to put focus on my own gender based on my own experiences. Women are diverse, just like other genders. There is no conclusion on what it means to be a woman and at the same time, is femininity subjective. Therefore, it should neither be dictated or judged by others or the society.
Which other (female) artist inspires you and why?
Sarah Lucas is one of my biggest idols. I really admire her work. Her art has also helped me find myself, my style and has given me a belief that I am doing the right thing. First time I saw one of her works was at Eros at Charlottenborg. I got a lump in my throat and I pinched a tear.
Same year I exhibited two chairs in the same exhibition as her and I was very honored. She has paved the way for women like me, and she creates things that go against the norms and push for everybody's understanding and view of each other. I like the way she talks about gender, sexuality and hierarchy. And she does it with a twinkle in her eye and a bold attitude. She is funny and provocative at the same time. It is like she is holding a finger to my face and at the same time she is laughing at me, but at the same time she evokes thoughts in me. That is refreshing.
What has been the most challenging part of being a female artist?
To be taken seriously. Not necessarily the aspect of my gender, but more the combination of being a woman and the things I work with and create. I create what are considered to be very feminine and colorful objects, which by some are considered to be “girly” and irrelevant. But that is exactly why I continue to see my objects as relevant in a contemporary context. It's about narratives and about fitting into certain boxes, in order to fit in. You can be extremely feminine and extremely smart. Gender, appearance and identity should not determine how we see each other or whether one is less or more worthy. Such views can be communicated through art and in my case design. Designs are objects we live with daily and they influence the way we present ourselves and the way we operate. Design, as well as fashion, can make us feel confident and beautiful for our own sake.
What would you like people to notice in your works?
I hope my works evoke something in people. A feeling of strength and control, but also anger and desire to become part of the objects and their intention. I hope it gives off a desire to embrace femininity and cultivate the feminine and our femininity. I am an optimistic pessimist, so although my works are partly intended to point out some shortcomings or flaws that I believe exist in our society and coexistence, I also hope that it also provides a joy and opportunity for renewal and change.
Each Monday we bring you an interview with a female artist, to help put focus on the many talented women artists out there. Follow along at MUNTHE ART MONDAY.