WOMEN beyond borders

Slideshow of the Travelling Exhibition

Remember Mail Art? Lorraine Serena and Elena Siff —two committed artists from Santa Barbara, USA— decided to give the seventies’ term a completely different (female?) dimension. They mailed identical, miniature wooden boxes to curators and artists in over thirty countries. They asked each one of them to forward the boxes to up to twelve renowned or emerging women artists. And they invited each artist to interpret, manipulate, recreate the box, and then return it to sender.
The result is WOMEN beyond borders (aka Wbb), an unprecedented cross-cultural exhibition, involving 600 artists, curators, and critics from around the globe. The boxes, reminiscent of womb, gift, tomb, shrine or treasure, were transformed in a myriad of ways via painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, or mixed media. They were expanded, smashed, buried or deconstructed. Some artists kept the intimate character of the box keeping secrets or treasures, while others emphasised the claustrophobic notion. Every box contains its “message”, be it conceptual or figurative, dark or colourful, refined and sophisticated or rudimentary, provocative or pleasing, hidden or overt, enigmatic or manifest. Each box tells a different story. Each story is told from a different perspective. In a time when it’s business as usual that one curator or one institution conceives, selects, and curates an exhibition, the founders of WOMEN beyond borders challenge this common model by experimenting with, and re-introducing a collective approach. The surplus value is obvious: Wbb demonstrates an incredibly richness and diversity, rarely seen in today’s art-scene.
And, more than just an exhibit, WOMEN Beyond Borders is also a vivid network, connecting participating artists from around the world, fostering unique collaborations and spin-off activities. The transport from Austria to St. Petersburg in 1996 for instance was organised as a travelling sculpture, presenting 178 boxes in a train, accompanied by artists and journa-lists. Two years later 26 boxes travelled and were exhibited throughout Nepal in the context of a women’s activists trek. “Building commu-nity is my art form” says artistic director and founder Lorraine Serena. Beside the artistic value of the individual pieces the collective dimension of the project is perhaps its most powerful characteristic.
WOMEN beyond borders
is much more than the sum-total of its parts. In other words: these are boxes with/to treasure. Since 1992 Women beyond borders has toured through over thirty galleries and museums worldwide. From November on it will be on display at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History in Los Angeles.
City of Women presents a permanent slide installation with a selection of exhibits from Argentina, Australia, Bosnia, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Tibet, Uganda, the USA, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia… and Slovenia. The participating artists from Slovenia are: Marija Mojca Pungerčar, Ema Kugler, Janja Vrabec.

1 - Louise Farnay - Vietnam
2 - Madoka Hirata - Japan/Japonska
3 - Mika Ebata - Japan/Japonska
4 - Jacqueline Brito - Cuba/Kuba
5 - Vivian Maria Mayne - Argentina
6 - Gordana Kaljalović Odanović - Yugoslavia/Jugoslavija

In cooperation with Cankarjev dom

Date and time of event: 
Oct 08th 18:00
Place of event: 
Cankarjev dom