Liina Siib’s project A Woman Takes Little Space represented Estonia at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition A Woman Takes Little Space consists of six conceptually connected room installations in an apartment-like, (un)homely environment. In her photo, video and site-specific room installations, the artist explores various topics, ranging from femininity and social space to different representations of women in contemporary society, as well as ‘feminine’ jobs and prostitution.The title work of the exhibition, the photography series A Woman Takes Little Space (2007–2011), captures women of different ages and social status at their places of work. The title’s slightly awkward humour and reverse accusation highlights the exhibition’s most obvious level, one that arises from the politics of contemporary life. The series is inspired by a claim made in an opinion column on gender equality that appeared in the Estonian media a few years ago stating that women need less space for their everyday work (and less pay) than men. One of the questions that runs through the exhibition touches on the mechanisms that allow such ideas (though in the interests of political correctness they are quashed in public debate) to continue relatively unhindered as a result of an unsaid agreement between all parties. This problem of social inequality is of course not an independent issue, but grows out of many far deeper and more complex patterns of thinking and behaviour about the ‘essence’ of woman and gender roles that are interwoven and often go unnoticed.
Texts by: Anna Kortelainen, Agnè Narušytè, Elo-Hanna Seljamaa