Hannah Skinner
Queerness through Presentation

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As a source of inspiration for her installation, Hannah Skinner looked to the queer community in Berlin. Her research began with the question ‚ how do queer people present themselves in Berlin? To understand more, Skinner contacted groups and communities that identify as queer through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, and received referrals within the community. The term „queer“ encompasses people, actions, and things that deviate from a socially and biologically defined heteronormativity through their sexual orientation, through their gender identity, or through their coding. For non-heterosexual, non-gender binary people, self-designation can have positive connotations and can be associated with a political agenda. Skinner found that through her conversation people expressed a sense of empowerment and belonging through their personal style and fashion choices.

Skinner sees LGBTQA+ safe spaces as essential to queer communities as they offer a platform where heteronormative rules are not the default. Safe spaces can be clubs or private spaces. To create such spaces of possibility, the artist offered various workshops for queer people. The artist worked with groups to design, sew, and make earrings and patches. If these activities seem to be coded female at first glance, Skinner was always also concerned with reinterpreting these craft activities and creating the possibility for everyone to be able to approach them without prejudice.

Skinner conducted interviews in analog and digital exchanges in which she explored what social roles exist in the queer community, what role models exist, and how queerness, in general, can present itself. One conclusion is that dress sense, tattoos, and jewelry play an important role in self-presentation.

Hannah Skinner „Queerness through Presentation“

On display, Skinner has two larger-than-life gloves made of orange organza. The four-meter-long gloves are attached to fixtures for blinds on the ceiling. Visitors can pull the transparent fabric up and down. On the iridescent fabric, Skinner embroidered shapes and designs that reminded her of the participants and their pride in being part of the queer community.

Skinner, who has exhibited sculptures in the past, ventured into new territory with portraits of the people she talked to about their identity and belonging. On display is a 160 x 200 cm acrylic painting titled „Loving Women.“ The abstract painting depicts two female figures, one seen from behind, stretching her right arm aloft, the other in frontal view. There is an ambivalence in that, It could be a mirror image or two women who look very similar. The painting is inspired by a magazine from 1929 about lesbian friendships. Skinner discovered the magazine during her library visits to the Spinnboden Lesbian Archive, where she was researching the history of queerness in Berlin. As a result of her research and her encounters, Skinner expresses that queer communities are a home away from home.

Text: Dr. Silke Förschler

About Hannah Skinner:

Hannah Skinner (1996) is a London-based artist who studied Fine Art Sculpture at Camberwell College of Arts (University of the Arts London), graduating in 2018. After graduating, Hannah was awarded the 2018 David Troostwyk Studio Prize in collaboration with Matt’s Gallery. During this time she developed her interest in kinetic sculpture. Hannah works primarily with fabrics and hand or machine embroidery. Her practice explores notions of queerness in sculpture, performance, costume, and video by incorporating kitsch and iridescent materials.

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Fresh A.I.R. #5 Online-Showcase

The Online-Showcase offers an opportunity to get an overview of the highly diverse projects of the fourth class of Fresh A.I.R. artists with their different kinds of media and aesthetics.

On view are video and photographic materials about the individual projects, each of which is accompanied by an explanatory text that aims to offer insights into the work’s aesthetic experience.

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