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Colleagues is a series of photographic portraits created between 2013-2019 depicting young male visual artists. The work investigates the history of posing in painting, the aesthetics of the male body as well as the power relation or intimacy which can occur between the photographer and the one being photographed. How does this frailty show in the portrait of the young male artist and how does the object being portrayed show his respect regarding the photographers professionalism by engaging himself as a model for the colleague?

In his text Colleagues – an exhibition companion Håkon Traaseth Lillegraven writes; ‘Rather than turn her back to this history, Wendel Skousen knowingly engages it by submitting familiar poses and compositions into play, harnessing an energy which could otherwise threaten to commandeer it. In theseries of portraits (all named, not granting the depicted artists anonymity), we can recognize amongst others, the martyred figure of Saint Sebastian, an eroticised male figure popularised by painters from Titian to Rubens, Singer Sargent to Caravaggio. In another, the contours of Olympia — first presented to an offended public by French painter Édouard Manet in 1895. In her time, by simply returning the viewers’ gaze, Olympia forced her bourgeoise audience into an interrogation of the desire and voyeurism which artworks such as her facilitated for them in a ‘decent’ societal and cultural setting. Wendel Skousen doesn’t hit far off a similar mark in our time. In Wendel Skousen’s work, a contemporary ‘Olympian’ gaze challenges us to assess how we look at and construe a heterosexual female artist using her male colleagues as the subject matter of her art. How we regard a male artists’ consented depiction in the semi-nude, in their beds, bedrooms, and studios, stripped of the social signifiers which would otherwise imply their professional proficiency, social repute, or other perceived virtues.’

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Group Exhibition
Alice Folker Gallery · Copenhagen, DK
Aug 18 – Sep 27, 2018