Today we share an interview with Lise Haller Baggesen, one of the artists featured in Your body is a battleground, on view at Weinberg/Newton Gallery from April 15 – June 9.

Focusing on the many ways art and artists have moved the pro-choice and feminist movements forward, Your body is a battleground is an exhibition featuring sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, and mixed media works. Exhibition artworks are available for bidding throughout the run of the show via the online auction house Paddle8. A closing reception and live benefit auction event will take place on June 9th. This exhibition and auction support Personal PAC.

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(Pardon me, if I’m sentimental)

The very last time I saw my granny alive, I knew this would be the very last time I would see my granny alive.

My paternal grandmother died one week after her 90th birthday in August 1998. She was alive for practically all of the 20th century. She lived to see two world wars, the atom bomb, the moon landing, the cold war, the fall of the Berlin wall, the Internet.

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In the fall of 2014, I curated three exhibitions for Vox Populi’s Fourth Wall screening space, under the title 3am Maternal. The invitation came about after a visit to Vox in the summer of 2014, during which I had a lengthy conversation with Catherine Pancake about maternal passions and desires, followed by a correspondence with Maria Dumlao about the politics and labor of labor and their uneasy position within the current feminist (and art) discourse.

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0141Danish artist Lise Haller Baggesen has made it her personal mission to “locate the ‘mother-shaped’ hole in contemporary art discourse” and has been touring site specific variations of her exhibition Mothernism since 2013 in an effort to do so. Today, we are lucky enough to have it on view at the Gatehouse Gallery at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Alongside the exhibition, Baggeson has also written a beautiful Mothernism book, available for purchase at both Contemporary Austin locations.

This interview was conducted in the disco womb room and has been edited for both length and clarity.

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IMG_0293In  recent months and weeks Mothernism has been touring some great venues in the United States, including the Elisabeth Foundation in New york (NY), the Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial in Elmhurst (IL) and my first US museum solo at The Contemporary Austin (TX). As the good-enough mother she is, the installation accommodates the different spaces she visits to make it what we need… and this old mama is only getting more photogenic with age. Enjoy!

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This month I had the great pleasure of participating in Tricia van Eck’s “Pleasure Zone” at Théâtre de la Ville in Paris (F) with my installation “Sound of Silver Talk to Me.” The installation will be up until July 2016.

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Navigating cultural constricts, post-modern philosophy and places as diverse as the sweaty dance halls of northern Europe to intimate moments of  contemplating while writing letters, Lise Haller Baggesen culls an intersection that merges contemporary thought and practice while examining an array of popular and obscure topics (e.g., disco, hedonism, the works of Julia Kristeva, to name a smattering).

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A video interview with Fred Sasaki for the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.

I: Future Trash

Last night I dreamt we were all gonna die. The rich ones, the poor ones, were all gonna die. The white ones, the black ones were all gonna die. The old ones, the young ones were all gonna die. We were walked down to a small lake or a pond at dusk. We were told to lie down. Some put their feet in the muddy water, but I did not, as I didn’t want death to come from the water. It was getting dark, but we could still see. Our assassins were young and beautiful, like rock stars. They were not cruel, nor out to torture us. They took no pleasure in their task, but they showed no mercy. My assassin looked like St. Vincent. I looked at her and I knew she was mine. We were told to close our eyes, that we would know when it was our turn, by a poke or a prod. Next to me lay a young girl, a child of nine or ten. She was curled up against me in fetal position, her shins nestled against my ribcage. When it was her turn to go, our assassin asked me if I wanted to kiss her goodbye, as we were companions. I could not open my eyes to look at her face —but I kissed her legs and her knees, the bones of her feet and the flesh of her calves, knowing it would soon be gone.
I woke up with a song in my heart. It was Antony Hegarty singing: “It will grow back like a starfish. It will grow back like a starfish. It will grow back like a starfish. It will grow back like a starfish.” But now that I am fully awake, I am not so sure. [1]

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Lise creates work that not only address motherhood and its feminist components, but act as a mother through its execution and content. Her practice focuses on staking out a territory for mothering in contemporary discourse, balancing her vibrant, tented environment with the printed text of her piece Mothernism—a disco beat serving as the lyrical and aesthetic inspiration.

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