"Women in Abstraction" integrates the history of feminism in the 1970s with the battles waged by artists and great theoreticians, and questions the legitimacy of the concept of "woman artist", taking into account the positions of the artists themselves, with their complexities and their paradoxes. In fact, many have positioned themselves beyond gender, while others lay claim to a "feminine" art. Beginning with the observation that the history of art is constantly rewritten with the help of new narratives, "Women in Abstraction" presents another history of abstraction, with a view to a future rewriting of the history of art in which the artists presented can be definitively integrated. The exhibition is curated by Christine Macel, Chief Curator at Centre Pompidou with Karolina Ziębińska-Lewandowska in charge of photography.
The exhibition sets out to write the history of the contributions of women artists to abstraction with works dating from the 1860s to the 1980s. Far from being a mere catalogue, the exhibition reveals the decisive turning points that marked this development, the specific contexts for creation, the research conducted by the artists, individually or in groups, as well as the founding exhibitions. Transcending the traditional reductionist hierarchies between high and low art, the exhibition presents a history that includes dance, the decorative arts, photography and cinema, with a museography that is punctuated with many documents, including films. The exhibition is multi-discipline with a global approach, including modernities from Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, telling a story with multiple voices.
Most exhibitions devoted to the history of abstract art have often downplayed the fundamental role played by women in the development of this plastic language. The latest historiographic advances as illustrated by the many recent monographs and thematic exhibitions now enable us to re-evaluate the importance of their contribution. This exhibition overturns several historical presuppositions concerning the chronology of abstraction and questions the old historical schemas, without however seeking to re-write a new one.
Other artists in the exhibition include Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Louise Bourgeois, Lygia Clark, Gego, Etel Adnan, Barbara Hepworth, Carmen Herrera, Lynda Benglis, Eva Hesse, Hila Af Klint, Agnes Martin, Elizabeth Murray, Georgia O’Keefe, Lygia Pape, Alma Thomas, Atsuko Tanaka, Bridget Riley and others.