Stefanie Bascha and Laura Borschotzky aka Baboschotzky are an artist duo from Vienna. Their work focuses on the deconstruction of solids and their reconstruction. They have been working together since 2018 and their works have already been shown at SIE! MICH AN and at the Chula Vista Film Festival. They also work individually as artists and have both dedicated their studies to art. Stefanie is the "practical one", she studies ceramics and plastic concepts at the University of Art and Design Linz. Laura is the "theorist" and studies art history at the University of Vienna. They share their thoughts about the project with the LomoInstant Automat and about International Women's Day in the following article.
We are a great team, when we start juggling creative thoughts, one idea complements the next and this special cooperation comes into being. That is certainly the best part of it. The exchange and flow in the process is really great.
Archive of Femininity*
Deconstruction breaks constructs down into their individual parts in order to analyze them and critically question what has become conventional. This process forms the cornerstone of our work. We particularly enjoy dealing with social issues and their deconstruction - especially femininity* and the role of women*. Therefore, it seemed a logical consequence to us to deconstruct the symbol of woman* for "International Women's Day", because the conventional idea of the symbol of the woman* is constructed. What she* looks like, how she* acts, what her* role is. In a collective archive, indexical signs that define femininity* are collected and summed up into a symbol. The construct of femininity* lives from them, since they have created it through constant repetition and have affirmed it continuously. The collective archive lays claim to completeness. It ascribes to the woman* indexical signs connoted as female* and thus reduces the woman* to her* symbol and consequently limits her* in her* existence. In doing so, it separates versatile people into two gender roles that need to be fulfilled and takes away from one what is forced upon the other. This results in a necessity to deconstruct the archive of femininity*.
Indexical signs of femininity* include shiny red lips; long hair; thick, curled eyelashes; short, tight dresses; high heels; nail polish; etc. All this is used to make women* look even more "feminine" and thus copy the given ideal of beauty. The face is made flawless with Contouring because women* should be "beautiful" according to this principle.
It is easy to create an illusion with make-up. The mouth can quickly become an eye if you put eyelashes on it. We want to show how much fake is behind all of this. A shiny red face is strange, and so would shiny red lips, if the collective idea of femininity* worked differently. It's all collective convention and construction. In addition, women* who comply with these conventions are condemned, perceived as superficial or labeled as not intelligent. This shows how much women* are judged. As prey, as an exhibition or for use at home, the woman* is objectified, categorized and constructed.
When asked to comment on how we could continue moving forward towards gender equality within the art world, this is what they had to say:
Recently, much has changed for the better in the area of gender equality, because a lot is being done which is great. It is imperative that this continues. All of us who are committed must not be discouraged by setbacks and must not give up, but must continue our fight.
When asked about analogue photography, and how the medium has helped liberate female photographers:
Analogue photography enables the editing of body perception. It is always exciting to see how much discrepancy can exist between photography and one's own body perception. It is great to experiment with it and also to work on and break with conventional body images.
Finally, this is what they would wish to impress on the younger generation of artists: "Design the world yourself, don't let others do it for you. No matter if it is about the perception of art, social images or beauty."
**The feminization of names also celebrates gender division. The star is supposed to draw attention to the binary perception of words - we work on the symbol of woman* - the star is supposed to show that the word woman* is also categorized as a symbol by learned mechanisms and that we connect certain constructs with it because we were taught to do so. We want to question and deconstruct this.
Many thanks to Stefanie Bascha and Laura Borschotzky for their inspiring contribution to Womensmonth! Look at their shared Instagram to see many more of their projects.