Isabella Chydenius: Burnt down, before you even get there
13 December, 2017 - 23 January, 2018 (By appointment: 23 December, 2017 - 2 January, 2018)
Tuesday - Friday, 10:ooam - 6:00pm | Monday + Saturday - By Appointment
SIA, 160 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Unit AL 18B (upstairs), Cape Town, 7915
OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, December 13, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
We’re proud to be exhibiting a solo showcase of Isabella Chydenius’ recent paintings, sculptures and site-specific installation.
Growing up with matriarchal Finnish grandmothers in the forests of Helsinki, Chydenius was raised closely connected to nature, learning about nature’s power and healing. In the 1700s women in Finland and Western Europe were burnt or killed because of their different nature and their connection to nature which was suppressed by the Christian patriarchy.
Women found themselves accused of practising witchcraft, even though healing was their chief objective. As a result they were killed on a Rovio - a bonfire.
Moving to Cape Town, South Africa, Chydenius quickly saw the relation between Finnish ‘witches’ and African Sangomas. Their wisdom and power, condemned by society, stemmed from fear.
As the killings of female healers continues in her African surroundings, she finds it ironic that Finland is embracing the culture they used to burn down. What is not surprising, is the Western world’s continued disregard of educated women in influential roles, and the incineration of their characters and works.
As further exploration into her environmental, human and equal rights practice, 'Burnt down, before you even get there’ explores the female’s historical and present courage to enlighten.
Chydenius’ site-specific installation, created from found wooden chairs, and piled in the manner of a pyre, confronts us with the visual of early Modern Europe, 1990’s Africa and today’s perception of female progression.
The perception of advancement and reality that it could go ‘up in flames’ at any moment.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Isabella Chydenius (b.1988) is a Finnish interdisciplinary artist working and living between Helsinki, Finland and Cape Town, South Africa. Currently based in Los Angeles.
Chydenius interdisciplinary work combines painting, installation, sculpture, text, video and performance and focuses on exploring societal structures of gender, sexuality, the body and mind. She is curious about the behavioural social constructs behind the feminine and the masculine in present society while often revisiting the past, to be able to get perspective of the journey ahead.