Queer as in challenging heteronormativity
#TheGalleryProject presents selected drawings, prints, photographs, comics, collages and installations by 47 queer artists from 27 countries in different locations worldwide.
Rurru Mipanochia’s drawings, sweet and colorful at first glance, reveal insights into the pre-colonial landscape of gender in Mexico. Duo Tim and Candra cope with the varying obstacles and desires of a cis and a trans woman in Indonesia in their almost eerie three-color photos. Ihar Paulau’s work ‘Flower Scars’ relates the human body to patterns found in nature, displaying a cultivated sense of intimacy and vulnerability. In his comics, Umba from St. Petersburg depicts amusing scenes from the everyday life of a trans man. Giegold & Weiß from Berlin use their installation ‘Lachanschlag’ to laugh at the tireless discrimination in institutions, government and otherwise.
#TheGalleryProject invites you to engage with the diverse realities presented in these and quite a few other works, some of which you can find in this catalog. The collection is distinctive in its absence of a unifying theme: each work reflects a unique perspective and as a whole, refuses to present a standardized narrative. Rather, it becomes clear that being queer means something different to each artist, whether sexually, politically, or aesthetically. Each artist represented in the exhibition has developed their own strategies for coping with their lived realities and addressing (or not addressing) them in their art. The works display sex, fragility, anger, courage, hope, nihilism, strength, fear, and beauty.
Offline exhibitions have taken place in Tallinn (Estonia), Sofia (Bulgaria), Podgorica (Montenegro) and Prague (Czech Republic) in 2017. In 2018 there was an exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
#TheGalleryProject started in the summer of 2016. Transnational Queer Underground had already existed for seven years, but was more or less a small website where me and a few friends had published a couple of articles and interviews as well as some links, contacts and resources about queer culture I had collected over the years. I had a weekly radio show and wrote and spoke about queer music and theory academically, so there was quite a bit of information that had accumulated over the years.
But I had always dreamed for TQU to involve more people; to actually get people from all parts of the world together. At that point I had no network to speak of, no money personally and none to spend on the project. But I was sure that there had to be a way to make it work.
Up until that point my main (sub)cultural focus had been on music. It’s what got me out of suburban life in Hamburg, it’s what gave me hopes and dreams and most of the wonderful connections with people I had made until then. I wrote about it, I talked about it, I played it and I made a lot of people dance at Soli-Parties all over Germany.
I guess I just wanted something else.
So I came up with the idea of #TheGalleryProject, where I invited people to show their artwork on TQU. They were asked to send in 5-12 pictures of their visual artwork and write a short bio and a couple of lines about their work. I spent days and nights researching art schools, contacting people on Etsy, finding Facebook groups and blogs where I could share the call. In the end, there were
almost 60 artist pages online, and even before the call ended in December 2017, I’d been invited to show the works in Tallinn, Estonia at the Ladyfest.
So after inviting the artists to take part in a series of physical exhibitions, I kickstarted the production of the exhibition with 45 artists and 90 artworks. And in the first year we showed the exhibition in Estonia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Czech Republic.
During this time, Transnational Queer Underground had also grown as a platform. The site started getting press coverage, and the attention keeps growing on a daily basis. People can still share their artwork, but also other projects on PROPSLIST, we’re a registered NGO (e.V.) in Germany and people can join TQU’s Star Club to become a part of a great network of artists and activists that supports and collaborates.
And I’m excited for a lot more to come.
What? Drawing, painting
Where? Germany || Canada
I’m an artist from Canada currently residing in Berlin. Attracted to anything queer, feminist, sensual […]
What? Mixed media, installation
Like through a mouthpiece, Giegold & Weiß let different perspectives speak through their installation art […]
What? Performance and self expression as queer activism/visibility through Photography
Where? Lesotho || South Africa
My pictures are all about representation, pushing through dated patriarchal binaries of existence […]
What? Drawing, illustration
My artworks are exploring different forms of sexuality and interactions with gender identity, especially […]
My name is Helen – this is a pseudonym, because I would like to remain anonymous in this exhibition […]
What? Illustration, painting
My work revolves around the search for identity and different forms of relationships and sexualities […]
Ihar Paulau began taking photographs as a child in Belarus, but shelved his camera when he pursued painting […]
Where? Czech Republic
The theme of gender is important to me. It is something that goes through my heart and penis […]
Where? Scotland || Germany
I started making collages when I moved to Berlin, because in Germany all the supermarket junkmail […]
What? Drawing, Painting, Video
Where? Germany || Canada
Jespa Jacob Smith is a DIY-visual artist and poet. Their work focusses on transitional and surreal […]
What? Mixed media art
My intention is to disrupt the status quo; to create work that digs into and unsilences a millefeuille […]
LB is a public school teacher, zine writer and genderqueer artist from
Chicago, IL USA. They sing […]
What others say
“The TQU workshop and exhibition in Tallinn was an eye-opening way of seeing new art (some of it from artists who had never exhibited in a gallery before or who used pseudonyms to avoid persecution in their home countries), imagining queer utopias, and understanding the diverse realities of queer and trans people around the world, especially in non-western settings. The first piece that caught my eye because of its pretty colors ended up being a memorial to the Armenian genocide, which was very bittersweet,” said one visitor at the last exhibition in Tallinn, Estonia this March.
Read full story.
„Ben Miller talks with Verena Spilker about a Berlin-based project that raises questions about how to create more inclusive archives and how communities can form through art.“
from Pelican Bomb
„In times when LGBTQ people are still being persecuted and even murdered as reported in Chechnya, forming a strong alliance and a platform for self-expression and is as important as ever. The art world seems to have finally woken up from its political slumber and yet queer people of colour are still severely underrepresented in the international art discourse. And while queer artists from numerous countries are creating works that are aimed at evoking a sense of unity, pride and resistance on a daily basis, their voices often remain unheard. Transnational Queer Underground is a platform that was founded to tackle precisely this.“
from Sleek Magazine
„#TheGalleryProject is a transnational repository of queer art open to everyone. Collages, comics, paintings, photographs, performances and installations –among other formats– participate in such an open project that seeks to question Western ethnocentrism within the arts. #TheGalleryProject is part of TQU –Transnational Queer Underground–, whose main aim is to rewrite the narrations of history dominated by white men.“
And you can also listen to a podcast on NoStrings Nigeria: https://nostringsng.com/podcast-german-journalist-talks-collecting-queer-art-nostrings/