Exhibitions14 09 2019 — 26 10 2019
BRUCE METCALF Lilith and her Sisters
For more then a century the feminist waves have been beating against the rock of male superiority. Sure, you can say that in the meantime impressive steps have been made, nevertheless when the option arose that a woman might become the next president of the USA, the fat seemed to hit the fire. So, anything but a woman? Even if that means being stuck with a man that is an - in Bruce Metcalfs own words - 'unethical, lying egomaniac'?
Being a man himself, Metcalf regarded making jewellery for women an ever greater challenge. What was to be his guideline? Cliché's galore: a woman can be considered either endearing or motherly, or - at the other outskirts of the spectrum - a pernicious, depraved being. Where to look for more fitting symbols?
Metcalf turned to mythology and the ancient texts. The Jewish commentaries on the Old Testament speak of the woman Lilith. She was intended to become the first wife of Adam, but she demanded equality in the relationship, and that didn't go down very well. Also God wasn't amused. When it became clear she didn't intend to give in, Lilith was married off to a demon, bore him several devils and was to play the part of the snake in the Garden of Eden. Metcalf decided it would be a good idea to turn the story upside down and to declare Lilith to be the first feminist, and as such a fitting model for the new, autonomous woman.
He started searching for appropriate imagery. The prehistoric goddesses - who emerged long before anyone considered worshipping male gods - were associated with the strength of the earth, and with the power connected to the cycles of life and death; so not just conveying desire and tenderness, but also representing potency and darkness. It gave the artist sufficient stimulus to develop a specific iconography and grab his tools: his new jewellery pieces will be presented in the gallery exhibition. They can be worn proudly, and with reason.
(© Galerie Rob Koudijs)