Sex Reenchanted
Curated by Mehveş Ungan
Kunstverein Heidelberger
21 June – 22 September 2024

The feminist group exhibition Sex Reenchanted presents eight international artists and their decolonial perspectives on sexuality.

How can sensuality and desire emerge from the shadows of histories of colonialism, slavery and misogynistic components of modern medicine? In answering this question, the exhibition draws on pre-capitalist narratives and art forms that have been partly forgotten and partly suppressed. How can feminists appropriate historical practices and forms of knowledge in line with Silvia Federici’s call for a ‘re-enchantment of the world’?

Dalila Dalléas Bouzar traces the emotional power of prehistoric rock paintings in the southern Algerian Sahara; Monia Ben Hamouda practises Islamic calligraphy to question the Christian link between sex and original sin; CANAN revisits the Ottoman literary genre of the bahname, which focuses on sexual pleasure of women; Şafak Şule Kemancı’s works evoke gardens filled with the intoxicating scent of seductive flowers.

Knowledge is a dynamic entity that is constantly dying and being reborn. Dealing with cultural heritage is a process of constant renegotiation. In the exhibition, this is seen in the equally uncanny and inviting works of Zoe Williams, who uninhibitedly revives the eroticism of the antiquity; Anna Ehrenstein’s exploration of Orientalism; Daphne Ahlers’ unmasking of historical masculinity by playing with the codpiece; Tabita Rézaire’s powerful critique of Western gynaecology, guided by the embodied wisdom of her Black ancestors.

Photo by  Tanja Meißer