IF I COULD WISH FOR SOMETHING
If I could wish for something takes its title from a Friedrich Holländer’s Weimar song. The lyrics of “Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte” are sung from the perspective of a woman who seeks to be happy, but not too happy, because sadness has become a refuge for her. This feeling is typical of the fraught ‘love story’ between feminism and socialism, between love and revolution. “The woman question” has been tiptoed around by every revolutionary movement since the nineteenth century. These decades of disillusionment are part and parcel of feminist history.
This exhibition brings together two recent films by Dora Garcia, Love With Obstacles and If I Could Wish For Something. Both films are part of Amor Rojo, a work-in-progress that studies the complex legacy of Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952). Alexandra Kollontai was a Marxist theoretician and figure of the October Revolution, a defender of the rights of women and sexual activist. Her insights seemed written for a future world and are more relevant today than ever. As far back as the 1920s, she was already addressing issues such as women’s unpaid domestic labour, the combination of work and childcare, discrimination against women in the labour market, sexual freedom, abortion rights, and the value of affection and relationships in terms of supply and demand. Concepts coined by Kollontai such as “the younger sister” (introducing the question of class in feminism) and “comradely love” (the idea that love is not a private, but a political matter) sound very strong today in intersectional and Third World feminisms.
The eponymous publication If I Could Wish for Something will be released to coincide with the exhibition. This publication brings together a group of authors with different areas of expertise who together outline the central topic: the unfulfillment of the promise revolution made to women. The book contains contributions from: Antonio Cataldo, Saddie Choua, Paloma Contreras Lomas, Dora García, Agnieszka Gratza, Carla Lamoyi, Hilde Methi, Andrea Valdés, Sayak Valencia and Pieternel Vermoortel.
The exhibition If I Could Wish for Something has been realised in a collaboration between Fotogalleriet Oslo and Netwerk Aalst and can be seen at both locations. The exhibition at Fotogalleriet Oslo runs from 03/09/21 to 17/10/21. And at Netwerk Aalst from 11/09/21 to 19/12/21.