Women House represents the meeting of two notions: a gender – female – and a space – the home. Architecture and public spaces have long been masculine domains, while the domestic space has often been either a prison or a refuge for women: however, this obvious historical fact has not been disastrous and the Women House exhibition demonstrates this.
Over 1000 m2, in part of the courtyards of Monnaie de Paris, 40 female artists of the 20th and 21st centuries take this complex topic on board, putting women at the heart of a story from which they have been missing. After appearing in Paris, Women House will be exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC from 8 March 2018.
The challenge of finding a work space at home was theorised in 1929 by Virginia Woolf, who encouraged women to find a room "they could lock without being disturbed" in her essay "A room of one's own". This is the starting date of Women House, with a goal that is explored thematically up to the most recent works, produced by a young generation of female artists, en route via the 1970s, when female artists rebelled against their lack of space, both real - for exhibitions, for work - and symbolic - for recognition.
40 artists from 4 different continents
The eight sections of the exhibition reflect the complexity of possible perspectives on the topic: they are not only feminist (Desperate Housewives), but also poetic (A Room of One's Own), political (Mobile-Homes) and nostalgic (Dolls' Houses).
The 40 artists of Women House come from 4 continents, from the historical Claude Cahun to the younger generation: the artist Pia Camil from Mexico, Nazgol Ansarinia from Iran, Joana Vasconcelos from Portugal, Isa Melsheimer from Germany, Laure Tixier and Elsa Sahal from France, and many more. There are some famous names (Louise Bourgeois, Niki de Saint Phalle, Martha Rosler, Mona Hatoum, Cindy Sherman, Rachel Whiteread) while others have been rediscovered recently after a more equal reinterpretation of art history (Birgit Jürgenssen, Ana Vieira, Laetitia Parente, Heidi Bucher).
Monumental works will be exhibited in the Monnaie de Paris courtyard, in a pathway linking the Pont des Arts with the Pont Neuf, which is freely accessible to the public from autumn 2017. An exhibition commissioned by Camille Morineau, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at Monnaie de Paris and Lucia Pesapane, Exhibition Commissioner at Monnaie de Paris.