‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ exhibition at FOMU, Antwerp’s photography museum 

Until 13 March 2022, you can visit the ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography‘ exhibition at FOMU, Antwerp‘s photography museum. It was previously on display at the Barbican Centre in London

“‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ is an ambitious group exhibition on the subject of masculinity that explorest the myriad ways that masculinity is experienced, performed and constructed through film and photography from the 1960s to the present day.”, FOMU says.

The exhibition includes over fifty pioneering international artists, photographers and filmmakers, including Richard Avedon, Rineke Dijkstra, Peter Hujar, Isaac Julien, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie and Wolfgang Tillmans.

“Masculinities challenges societal expectations and gender norms. The exhibition rejects the concept of ‘the ideal man’ and presents the argument for multiple forms of masculinity. At a time when the media is fascinated by terms such as ‘toxic’ and ‘fragile’ masculinity, this exhibition examines the masculine in all its complexity, touching on themes of queer identity, power and patriarchy, hypermasculine stereotypes, the black body, fatherhood, and the female gaze. ”

The exhibition was created by the Barbican Centre in London and curated by Alona Pardo. This exhibition has previously been shown at Martin-Gropius Bau in Berlin and Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles in France.

Antwerp touch

In co-creation with artist and entrepreneur Jaouad Alloul, FOMU has put together an extensive list of activities. Various speakers and artists will shine their light on what masculinities can mean today in a multi-voice program.

Opening night

One could register for the opening night, on Thursday 21 October, so I did. Thanh had spotted this opportunity. 

In an event under the Covid Safe Ticket umbrella, the night comprised opening speeches by curator Alona Pardo, museum director Maartje Stubbe and activities coordinator Jaouad Alloul. 

For Pardo, masculinities – in plural – have changed a lot since the 1960s. “There are many ways of being or becoming a man”.

Alloul asked to ask ourselves if we behave as we behave by choice or by convention. 

There was a performance by Joppe De Campeneere and Alloul. Joppe De Campeneere is a vocal person on social media on gender identity issues. 

After the exhibition, All The Lovers held an afterparty. 

The exhibition

The exhibition is quite comprehensive. ‘Masculinities’ comprises several sections, such as men seen by women, queer perspective, the black body, family, the army, sports, youth, power, patriarchy, gentlemen’s clubs, the 1970s and so many more.

The exhibition space is smartly divided into corridors and sections, allowing many works of art to be exhibited. 

Absolutely worth a visit. 

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