Bettina Rheims: Gender Studies

26 January - 1 March 2013

Rheims' body of work, Gender Studies, depicts transsexuals, women that have become men, men that have become women, and a third gender - those that preferred not to choose a sex and exist as both, adopting a dual identity. The exhibition comprised large format colour prints mounted on aluminium, from editions of 5.

 

The foundation of this project emerged from a request to republish Modern Lovers, a body of work concentrating on androgyny and transgender identity, shot in the late eighties and exhibited at Hamiltons in 1990.  Rheims decided to take the idea a step further and explore the differences and mindsets in the world of gender today in comparison to twenty plus years ago. Posting a message on Facebook encouraging those that 'felt different' to get in touch with her studio, further conversations began to take place over Skype, and Rheims conclusively invited twenty-seven candidates from around the world to visit her studio to be photographed.

 

Rheims became particularly struck by the voices, tones and chosen words of her subjects. This inspired her to record their voices, which were subsequently audible throughout the exhibition, adding a powerful dimension to the works.