Treumund started to work on the series when she realized that the history of lesbian, feminist, and non-normative women in Estonia was hidden or at least untold. The exhibition is based on archive research, newspapers, church books, court- and police documents, and folklore. This is how stories, life histories like these, survive.
Anna-Stina Treumund was a unique, pioneering artist both in Estonia and in an international context. “My private life, my activism and my art are all means of communication and they all speak a queer-feminist language,” Treumund previously said about herself.
The women she chooses for the series have very different backgrounds, but they have many things in common, as well. They are all independent and affected the contemporary society by their life choices. The historical sources could not, it goes without saying, be used as such, as homosexuality was illegal and punishable at that time, but with her intuition and experience, she was and could be, pretty sure that her reading of the sources was reasonably correct.
The name of this exhibition or the group of photos is given by the artist. In a way it is significant for her. Every woman, every story is individual and has equal importance, so they should all have their names states in the headline.
According to Berndt Arell, the exhibition’s curator, Treumund’s work consists of several layers. “The staged, historicizing pictures depicts women who can be historically well known, they can also be reconstructions based on fragments she found, and they can be totally fiction made up by the artist.”
The models are all part of the extended family of Treumund, well known feminists, friends and comrades, all active on the cultural scene in Estonia. “Her idea was not to choose the models for their looks alike but rather to combine similarities in carrier or other life choices. By doing so, she repairs or recreates the broken chain between generations of women. Stories that waited to be told. At the same time, the project as such, documents an activist network, friendships and a pioneering, groundbreaking era in the struggle for equality.”
Gallery name: Fotografiska Tallinn
Address: Telliskivi 60a/8, Tallinn
Opening hours: Mon, Sun 09:00 - 21:00, Tue-Thu 09:00 - 23:00, Fri-Sat 09:00 - 01:00
Open: 01.06.2019 - 15.09.2019