I never wear dresses (2020)

The body. The movement. The dress. A story of femininity. My story.

How to take off a dress without using your hands?

I never wear dresses is a symbolic act about my femininity, where I am struggling with the dress. Repeating it over and over again. I meet the woman in me, and I am also confronting all the women in my life who have shaped me. Whose good qualities I carry with me, but also their weak and destructive qualities. How we adopt behaviour, generation after generation.

I never wear dresses is a video where I am dealing with everyday movements and trying to find new ways to relate to them. From the beginning the idea was a performative videoinstallation, but after the situation with COVID-19 I started to focus on how to preserve the physicality of the movement in a digital sphere. The video has been shown at the online exhibition Finite Vastness, Cardboardium, 2020 and Gallery Black Box Genesis, Vasa, 2020.

”I never wanted dresses. I liked pants and pyjamas. I was told that "You play like a boy", as I stood on my head in the ditch, ran and climbed so that I got holes on my knees and beat most guys in arm wrestling! My hair was cut as a boy and I was always the guy in the school plays. They said I looked like my grandfather. He, who tore apart two packs of cards with his bare hands and wrestled down a wrestling champion in Alaska. I wanted to be like him! I liked being strong and fast! The dress was depriving my liberty. It was Sunday best. It made me into the nice and good girl, who knew how to behave.”

”Mom always took me to a seamstress in the village to sew my dress for the Christmas party and graduation. The seamstress was a chubby old lady with her skirt high up under her breasts. I hated standing in front of her as she pinched the fabric around my body. Arrested!
And now I am sewing my own performance dresses!!”

”I am wearing my grandma's underwear. For a while I am in the role that became hers, the one she did not choose but was forced into. She dreamed of becoming a teacher but had no other choice than to become a housekeeper. Serve the man or rather the men in the entire family. She was small and thin as a rail, so she ended up on the blacklist at school, but she was strong as an ox and worked like a man!”

”My pulse is beating, the sweat flows, I am bending forward, shaking, swinging my arms forward – backward, nothing happens, I am stretching upwards, shaking, rolling. My abdominal muscles cramp and my legs tremble. Nothing happens. I lean forward, stretching myself up, crawling, shaking, swinging, forward – backward, rolling around, dragging me to the floor, stretching my legs, shaking again, swinging... How to take off a dress without using your hands?”

Gallery Black Box Genesis, Vasa, 2020.


Still from the video I never wear dresses