24 January 2017

Curated by girls is the platform bringing exceptional image making, without prejudice

Your new follow.

[T]he world at large is criminally lacking equality. And, despite its progressive motives, groundbreaking and agenda-setting works and troupes of constant agitators, the art world is too. Curatorship especially is all too often overseen by the establishment, by self-appointed gatekeepers of culture. White men, basically. Enter Curated by Girls. a Berlin-based platform managed by Laetitia Duveau (also an artist and musician) and Suzanne Wegh, both of whom are dedicated to showcasing the work of “talented artists, emerging and established, from around the world,” regardless of gender, sexuality, race, class, education or any of the arbitrary boundaries that society loves to enforce.

Via the internet and IRL shows – and despite the ongoing existence of BS Instagram censorship rules – Curated by Girls is bringing exceptional image making, without prejudice.

Image above by Brandy Eve Allen, @brandyevephotos.

Hi Laetitia, what prompted you to start Curated by Girls?

Well, I became a curator by accident. I am firstly an Artist, Little Voice and frontwoman of the band Free Free Dom Dom. I came to Berlin almost a year ago to pursue my music career and Curated By Girls kinda happened to me. It started out as a friendly collaboration between me and my former partner Ophélie Rondeau. We put up a website together to promote visual arts based on diversity, equality and freedom. The idea was to build a female-curated collective that would be all inclusive and represent everyone, no matter the gender, ethnicity, or sexuality.

After a while Ophelie had to quit to focus on her photography career, and I kept going on my own. Since then, I organized three successful IRL shows in Berlin with amazing international artists. I am quite proud and happy that I stuck to this project, it’s now part of my life and it is very inspiring. More recently Suzanne Wegh, a feminist curator from Netherlands, has joined the team!

Do you find Instagram to be a valid gallery space?

It is imperative to show artwork online and Instagram is very convenient. It is a space for different voices to be heard and represented. It has literally given easy access to art but is also a big mashup of all and everything. People tend too much to be interested in getting likes, and just being famous. Art is beyond that! Of course I discover many gems on Instagram, around 50% of the CBG artists featured.

One of the main problems with IG is censorship, which is ridiculous. The female body is constantly policed. You see sex everywhere but a nipple gets your photo banned from IG? How stupid is that?

I think it is definitely a great space for art, like an infinite online gallery, and fun to use. But I guess it will never be as strong as IRL shows. We are spending too much time behind a screen these days and we need to reconnect with real things, real people, connect to our senses, and truly enjoy the moment. Seeing art in the flesh is stronger than just checking your Instagram feed that’s for sure.

©Sasha (@zhidcova_) www.curatedbygirls.com/sasha-2.html

A photo posted by curated by GIRLS (@curatedbygirls) on

How do you think photography will change in the next five years?

Photography is constantly evolving and developing so quickly. Film photography has been brought back to fashion lately, which shows that we constantly recycle ideas.

There are more and more aspiring photographers – everyone has photo access, with a smartphone, and the opportunity to explore photography and expose pictures in one click. But being an artist takes more than just being on Instagram. It has to do with exploring oneself, not just posting nice photos. There’s a lot of creativity out there for sure, and even if everything has been done already, to me, what really stands out is personality.

Hopefully, in the near future the world will be more balanced. Right now employment in the art sector is still highly unbalanced. Most photographers making a living from their work are white men. Female photographers, and artists in general, are exploited, and that’s why we are many fighting against that (actively creating unions and platforms) to change this inequality. We need more diversity!

What, in your opinion, are the worst effects of not having diversity when it comes to photography?

A lack of diversity is suffocating. When there is no diversity, there is no creativity. The art world needs to be filled with different colours and perspectives. Over-representation of one race, gender or culture is oppressive because it doesn’t give any space for the wide variety of life. It is boring and faking reality. It goes for photography but for life in general! If you live focused on your own ego or you are in fear of the other, you are missing out on the amazing diversity that surrounds you. Diversity makes photography alive, free and creative… If you follow a trend or you just copy and don’t look deeper inside you, your photography will be boring.

Do you find mainstream image-making and established image makers alienating?

Many people feel alienated from the mainstream culture and art. This is because there is still an under-representation of certain communities like people of colour and non-binary individuals. I do feel like there’s a lot of stereotyping and a lack of true representation in mainstream popular media.

But ‘mainstream’ is not always synonym of bad or wrong. Before becoming mainstream, it can be ‘underground’ or whatever you want to call it. What I don’t really enjoy is how people follow mainstream. They are usually after money! And once you go after it, well your work loses its passion. There are photographers who made history and some people might not be touched by their artwork but those artists all stand with one common thing: Once again, personality.

What, for you, makes a compelling image?

Personality, honesty, sincerity. I think an artist makes a good image when he does it his way. What’s primordial is that the photo is telling a story, capturing a moment, an emotion, a soul….