Interactive Histories: Reconstruction

Bjørn Nørgaard and Lene Adler Petersen, The Female Christ. From ABCinemas anthology- film Without Kin, 1970. Copyright: Bjørn Nørgaard

New historicism holds that literature reconstructs history. Reconstruction history is an interpretive behaviour, and the interpretation of interpreters invariably bears the imprint of their own experience.[1]The American historian Hayden White argues that the deep structure of history is poetic, which is essentially a linguistic interpretation with the concomitant of all the language components[2]. He has established a passage between historical discourse which has always been regarded as the representation of the truth, and literary discourse which is characterised by imagination and fiction. Writers, poets, artists then have new ways to interact with histories.

 

In 1968, The Artist Bjørn Nørgaar filmed his performance “The Female Christ” with his wife Lynn Adler Peterson while she walked to a white cross and ultimately relied on a wall and then stand naked in the gesture of the crucifixion; on 29 May 1969 at 15.30 a naked woman again carrying a cross walks through the Copenhagen Stock Exchange; in the same year, the performance reappeared in the film “The Girl in the Green Dress”. In 1970 Bjørn Nørgaar filmed the colour picture “The Female Christ Ⅱ”; in the act of “Horse Sacrifice”(1970), “the Female Christ” was also present.

 

In fact, “The Female Christ” is not a single work, but a concept conveyed through a series of efforts.[3] The notion of “Christ” is a complex and diverse: not only overturn the traditional religious beliefs by gender and sex but also with a strong colour of feminism and heavy cultural metaphor.

 

He narrated women bearing the burden of representation in history and culture, as well as pointed out the inevitable feminine traits in the patriarchal society. All the characters we found that Jesus represented such as gentleness, love, openness, caring for children are very feminine. In that specific social currents, avant-garde art movement and social movements happened to overlap, and also the art itself expanded into the real life. “So today it would actually make more sense for Jesus to be a woman. Creating such an image was actually a very political thing to do.” said by Bjørn Nørgaar.[4]

 

In this way, fragments of the deconstructed history artistically reforms a new world. At the same time, history returns to us, whether it’s real or not.

 

[1] Jeffrey N., Larry J. Reynolds, Eds., New Historical Literary Study: Essays on Reproducing Texts, Representing History (Princeton UP: Princeton, N.J., 1993).

[2] Gay Marcille Frederick, Hayden White on Historical Narrative: A Critique (Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Institute for Christian Studies, 1992).

[3] Rune Gade, A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries 1950-1975 ([n.p.]: , 2016), p. 64-70.

[4] Annette Rosenvold Hvidt, A brief look at The Female Christ (2018) <http://www.smk.dk/en/visit-the-museum/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/2010/bjoern-noergaard/about-the-work-the-female-christ/> [accessed 14 May 2018].

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