Macho Macho Man
Curated by Eric LeRouge, Instinct.Berlin#6 features nine artists from a variety of disciplines, including photography, drawing, painting, sound, performance and video - all exploring the theme of Macho.
I caught up with Eric LeRouge for a behind the scenes look at the exhibition.
What was your inspiration for establishing Instinct?
After living in Paris for 20 years, I moved to Berlin in 2004.
In 2016, my partner and I opened a creative space for men who identified as GTBQI, hosting a variety of workshops, festivals, training courses, and classes. Instinct evolved from that - a queer space that questioned masculinity, gender roles, and societal expectations through aesthetic experimentation.
Instinct.Berlin presents two collective exhibitions each year - we invite artists to present work on a specific topic. It’s an event that also features workshops, screenings, and other forms of artistic exploration of the theme.
How do you select the artists that are featured in your exhibitions and residencies?
In selecting the focus of each exhibition, I have a vision for the show. I then try to find a selection of artists to represent that vision. As our reputation has grown, we’re increasingly receiving applications from artists who want to be included.
Your next exhibition, in September, is Macho. Why this theme?
There’s no simple way of defining it, but ‘macho’ is something that we all recognise instantly.
With this show we want to explore what ‘macho’ means in the context of the 21st century and our new understandings of gender. We want to create a playground for both artist and observer to examine their feelings about maleness, masculinity, and machismo.
We don’t have all the answers, but we are participating in the conversation.
The exhibition will feature the work of nine artists - do they all have something different to say about the concept of Macho?
Each of the participating artists has a different taste and point of view of what it is to be seen as a macho in today’s LGBTQ community and society in general.
You’ll also be featuring two performances - what will they be like?
Both performances are really physical and intense.
The first one is about surrender and trust - one artist laying on the floor is offering his face to another performer who stands with all of his body-weight on one of the most fragile parts of our body, the scull, while a third artist is playing a saxophone.
The second performance is about endurance and repetition, disturbing because of the intensity and the violence of the artist to himself.
If I’m not able to get to Berlin for the exhibition, is there any way to see the work that’s being presented?
We’ll be creating a film about the show. The pieces will be also available online.
What do you hope people feel when they come to Instinct to experience Macho?
I want them to be disturbed but it should feel familiar. Macho is a state of mind, a construct - everything is futile yet necessary.
I want them to leave the space with more compassion for all those men trying to be a man in a world where masculinity needs to be re-written.