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State of Mind


Annica Karlsson Rixon, Anna Viola Hallberg

Exhibition view, Annica Karlsson Rixon and Anna Viola Hallberg, “State of Mind“, 2011, © FOTOHOF

“State of Mind“ is an exhibition installation that deals with the living conditions of lesbian and bisexual women in Russia and examines them in the context of public morality, the legal situation, social prejudices and demands of those affected. Annica Karlsson Rixon and Anna Viola Hallberg are artists who prefer to use the media of photography and video in their conceptual works. “State of Mind“ discusses themes of assigned vs. self-selected identity, belonging vs. alienation, deficits vs. potentials of same-sex partnerships.
Together with “Resonance“ and “Code of Silence“, the group of works is part of a trilogy that addresses aspects of the construction of social and cultural group identities within a modern society in different ways through photographic and film installations. Photography and video are deliberately linked by the two artists in the sense of an extension of the documentary genre of film interview and portrait photography.

Annica Karlsson Rixon and Anna Viola Hallberg, “Liliana“, St. Petersburg, 2007, from the series: “State of Mind“, C-Print, 76 x 93,5 cm

Making State of Mind

“In June 2006 we spent our first week in St Petersburg, Russia, shooting “State of Mind – Prologue“, a five-minute film based on a yearlong email conversation with a lesbian couple. The foundation of the on location research was, facilitated through an art residency in the fall of the same year. It gave us the opportunity to interact with the city for two months and get to know the contemporary art scene and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) spheres. At the time there was no registered LGBT or queer organizations in St. Petersburg, but several informal groups existed. For this reason we are leaning on the word “spheres“, also used by the communities themselves for describing active groups lacking recognition from authorities in the form of official registration. We perceived that the effort was focused on maintaining the entourage rather then striving for common activist goals. Leaders and groups were coming and going, and some remaining in position. It was noticeable that there was an obvious tension between the spheres. To negotiate this a reception at the Swedish General Consulate was set up, and it became an opportunity to present our work and to reach out to people we had identified as interesting for the project “State of Mind“. We invited everyone to participate and to extend the call to people they could think of.“ (Artist Statement)

Annica Karlsson Rixon and Anna Viola Hallberg, “Marina, Senya, Lena“, St. Petersburg, 2007, from the series: “State of Mind“, C-Print, 76 x 93,5 cm
Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von schwedischen Botschaft in Wien