A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY ART PROJECT
“Indvielsen” is an art project that allies social study, fashion, textile craft to photography.
The main theme is Danish identity, seen from a non-native point of view.
Four women, recently arrived in Denmark from four different countries, have been invited to describe the Danes, Danish women, and “Danishness” in general. Based on these records, a mask has been designed for each of them.
This work is an opportunity for the Danes to look at themselves from a very unusual angle. We wish thereby to shake up the stereotypes about national identities.
Lauréline Démonet, who is behind the concept and the production of the masks, is a French costume designer based in Copenhagen. She usually works for theatre. In this work, though the stage is not there, it is not far away.
The photographer is Copenhagen-based Anna Sircova, who is also a psychologist, specialist in cross-cultural studies and time.
CONCEPT AND PROCESS
“Indvielsen” means Initiation.
The Danish population is very homogeneous, and new-comers easily feel as outliers. Feeling so obvious a stranger that you wish you could put a mask on to become one of “them”.
This longing for anonymity and for belonging has inspired masks, that are meant to empower the foreign wearers with Danish identity, to initiate them to Danishness.
In our collective mind, masks often carry images of foreign, exotic tribes, with primitive, enigmatic cults and rituals.
I find it interesting to reverse this cliché of exoticism, so that it is the Danish tribe that my masks are depicting. Although they look magical and enigmatic, my masks are actually the expression of trivial, concrete experience. Girls chatting about superficial topics like clothes, style, make-up and shoes. Through those informal conversations with my subjects, I’ve been introduced to four different stereotypes of the Danish woman. This became a narrative material, leading to the creation of one mask for each idea of “Danishness”.