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Name: Johanne Rude Lindegaard
Profession: Billedkunstner
Website: johannerude.com
Instagram: @johanne_rude

Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.

My name is Johanne Rude Lindegaard. I am a visual artist educated from the Funen Art Academy and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. I work with abstract painting. 

Often the paintings are very large and become almost an installation because they incorporate the architecture in which they are exhibited. I would like to challenge our encounter with the painting as something static on a wall. For me, the bodily experience is the basis of our mental space. Therefore, I often make works that address the body. I visualize the subconscious. I want to create portals to my own subconscious through materials and technique. If art touches us, it can unleash our repressed potential and guide us to deep realizations. I am interested in a place where there are not too many fixed points of reference and where openness has value. Here I see an opportunity for development. At my latest solo exhibition Shadows in Pieces at Overgaden, I made monumental paintings based on my experiences with a complicated birth and maternity leave. I used the idea of abstract painting as general language (usually male) to visualize a female experience which is often overlooked in art history.

Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

I have long avoided focusing on my gender in my artistic development because it felt like a limitation. I would not accept that there were opportunities I could not seize because of my gender. I work with abstract painting which is traditionally a real "macho medium". Therefore, I was quite conscious of working on a very large scale to prove that it was okay for me to take up space. There was a lot of defiance in that. But when I got pregnant and had a complicated birth and maternity leave, for the first time I had a feeling that I could not escape my gender and that there was no shame in processing and using that experience artistically. It was a therapeutic process to work very physically with the large formats, so I got the ownership of my body back. I think there is a very deeply embedded hierarchy within us that dictates what is good and less good art and what themes that are important. Here, feminine topics are very far down the list. I think that is very problematic! I think everyone (including men) gets a lot out of gaining insight into worlds that we do not already know. It expands our empathy and connection to other people.

So being a woman has probably affected both my art and my career. I have met both resistance and support due to my gender. I can see that the odds are tougher if you for example want support from a gallery, as it is still easier to sell art made by men. But I think things are changing now, also because there are now more female collectors and the institutions are focusing on distributing purchases more evenly, also in relation to minorities and overlooked groups. I think we live in an exciting time where diversity can expand our view of the world if we dare to accept change.

Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

I have a long list but will mention a few here. There is a great painter like Agnes Martin who worked very uncompromisingly with abstract painting. She is exciting because her works are very tightly composed, but at the same time entails an expressiveness that talks about the human psyche and the work of the hand. Her works provide much space for the viewer, even though she herself is so incredibly present in them.

A contemporary painter is Katharina Grosse. She paints gigantic works and I find it refreshing to see that power in a female painter. The work deals with perception and how we experience the world. An investigation into when something is an illusion and when it is physical material. I am myself very interested in this field as a painter.

An artist of approximately my own age is the author Olga Ravn. Her book “Mit arbejde” (My work) is about her post birth reaction. I think it breaks down taboos and is brave. It gave me the extra push to use my own birth experience in the exhibition Shadows in Pieces this summer. I am grateful for how literature in a more concrete way communicates experiences that can be difficult to cope with.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?

I felt like I was put on standby during my maternity leave. It is hard to see how others continue to work on their art while you are preoccupied with prams and diapers and being physically challenged. Luckily, I had a good boyfriend who helped me a lot so I quickly started working again. Art is essential for me to thrive in my life, so it was a difficult period.

What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

I hope they notice the materiality and sensuousness of the works. The paradox of painting is that it is material and an illusion at the same time. I think it is a fine analogy to how our lives are shaped by both our physical and mental selves. I hope the works are so alluring that people get caught up and spend time with them, but that the works also contain a kind of distance that makes room for the viewer's own experience and critique.

Each Monday we bring you an interview with a contemporary female artist.