- So, the next show we have on in Preface Space, is going to be a work by the Swedish artist Angelica Falkeling. Angelica is currently based here in the Netherlands. We have invited her to produce a new piece entitled Hillary Clinton - the Musical for the duration of her show. The show will be on for a month, I have here with me today. I’m gonna ask some questions about her proposals and how you will arrange the space, so Angelica, just start by telling us a little bit about the work you have been doing in the past.
I been educated as a fashion designer and trained as a dressmaker before I enter the filed of contemporary art. I have been interested in costumes, and how to perform in costumes and especially clothing as a language. This made me focusing on the history of the western male suit as a symbol of power and its history as a textile from a postcolonial, art historical and queer feminist perspective. This made me start enter different types of rooms for political decision-making, where I’m been investigated in how these kind of rooms are being represented and how I can propose a alternative representations of these spaces to be able to discuss how we read these rooms for power and how a gesture of inclusion might look like. The suit made me start to look at how politicians defined as female have been dressed in the verbal political arena, with the starting point in Margret Thatcher, where she writes in her biography how she choose to wear bright clear colors in order to become visible in this rooms of black suit guys, cause she was not allowed to adopt or wanted to adopt the black suit and said ”Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
- So, you’re trained as a fashion designer, and now taking steps into the politics of fashion, costumes and dress, how does it relate to your work as an artist dealing with performances? I think about clothes, and to dress and to put on your clothes and costumes is something you do every day. It’s super accessible, I don’t want to frame it as a medium, but you easily can move between different types of spaces, because my work is also circulating in rooms and contexts that dosen’t nesccarsliy is an art space, or is dosen’t nesscarly always operate as art, every time my work appear in public.
- So, the performance of dress is something everyone can relate to? I think so, and my practice is constantly ongoing, where I sometimes need to make cuts, frames and edits in order to be able to communicate what I’m actually doing as an artist, even if it’s more a way of approaching life and make a living.
- So, what fascinate you so much about Hillary Clinton? Laughing. I adore and love a lot of these women holding leading position of power in society, no matter if I agree with their stand points, rhetorics or actions, and the right to publicness can never be taken for granted. I don’t have a clear answer about my obsession on specifically politicians and the media images that circulate around them, but a lot of media-scandals about politicians often are related to detail of their visual appearance in their costume, bags, shoes etc. I’m investigated in the spectrum of expressing femininity, masculinity in relation to being mean, ridiculous, taking up too much space and behave aggressive, which I also observe within the context of art.
The paint-suits that Hillary Clinton often wears, trousers and suit jacket for women is something that became allowed for female politicians in USA to me worn, 1992 or 1993, I think. Before that people defined as women were not allowed to wear trousers in the Senate . I will give you an example, The French revolutionaries wore long trousers to distinguish themselves from the nobility. And long trousers are totally an everyday casualness today, but was once political and appeared to bodily . And the fashion designer Coco Chanel is readily associated with the Chanel suit, but during the 1930s, Chanel launched wide slacks for women together with machine-knitted jumpers, something that is easily forgotten as revolutionary in the history of her work, and tangle my interested in bodily comfort in what you’re wearing. Hillary Clinton – the musical is originally my friends idea. Annika Nyman, she works as a play writer and investigated in hysterical women on stage in the field of theater, and tried to pitch the idea of Hillary Clinton - the musical for a Swedish theater scene but failed. I think my space for action and doing things as an artist is a bit less restricted at the moment, so we take the use of Preface Space, as a stage set-up for this musical.
- So, by choose a musical about Hillary Clinton, what do you want to tell us about her as a figure, why do you want to provide a space to talk about her when so much is already spoken about her in the media? I don’t think the musical will necessarily be only about Hillary Clinton as a figure, she will be one of protagonist figures, but I see it more as a massive crowd of charachters arriving to this set-up, how is running the narrative, how have access to space, how and when do we listening? Sometimes I want to think about exhibitions spaces as a filed for negotiation or like filed for some kind of political reality as it literacy feels towards the skin.
- And maybe display something that isn’t represented elsewhere? Yes, maybe, it will not only deal with Hillary Clinton, the musical as a whole will deal and make space for politicians by female gender through history through the imagery that appears around them in the media, when I was doing my exchange studies in Ramallah, I was super interested in Golda Meir, who was the mother of Israel and framed as the ’only male in the cabinette’, because, I’m really interested in how you perform leadership and how you use rhetorics.
- So, how will you transform Preface Space into a stage-set and what will can visitors expect to encounter? I’m imagene it as a celebration, and it to be aggressively fun and intimate. I don’t necesrrily think that I will based this musical on the ideology the politicians represent, more going, into something that blur the imagery on how we read them and a freaky burlesque costume drama. They will have sex with each other even if they lived during different periods of time.
- So, can you describe the physically of the space would look like? I visited the Preface space last week. It’s a huge glass window, you will be able to see the stage set from the front side all time from the outside. Basically, the show most go on, and it will always be on. Something will happening with the light setting, like a choreography during the night, so people who passing by drunk can see something. It will be specific times when the actual musical is happening, but I also see it be possible to transform, negotiated actively during the month of the show. And for the stage set I’m inspired by a playground that was recently build in a public park in Malmö. I don’t know if it’s made as a paradoy of what used to be the format for public speaking, but basically this playground has a speakers corner with a functioning microphone for kids 24/7. Its aesthetics is related to a palette that already exist in my previous work, bright neon and pastel colors and home-made pattern, and you don’t have fluffy furry textiles in public, but there will be fluffy furry textile her in Preface Space.