About the "Female Beauty" art project
Female Beauty projektets historie i korte træk (In Danish, see it in english further down) :
Female Beauty Projektet blev vist første gang i DGI-Byen i København i 2014, og blev hurtigt kendt i damebladene, da den kropspositive udstilling blev mødt med så meget modstand fra de besøgende, at den blev fjernet før tid. Den næste og anden udstilling på Illutron kunstbåden i København, blev udsat for hærværk og det trak overskrifter.
I mellemtiden ansøgte kunstneren om at udstille på offentlig gade, men politiet nægtede hende at vise sine billeder offentligt. Dette skabte en mediestorm som spredte sig til hele verden, (se artikler i CV). Men med hjælp fra medierne og senere politikere, blev projektet blev for alvor blåstemplet da Bertel Haarder åbnede Mathildes nye, store, sponserede udstilling på Nytorv i København 2016.
Året efter fik Mathilde betalt to dannelsesrejser til Ukraine og Japan, hvor hun fotograferede og udstillede projektet. Den danske ambassade i Tokyo skrev et anbefalelses brev, som hjalp hende med at få foden indenfor på den ellers svært tilgængelige japanske kunstscene. Brevet og ambassaden hjalp hende også ud af kløerne på politiet, som anholdte Mathilde for at fotografere en model på en offentlig strand udenfor Tokyo, da lokationen viste sig mod Mathildes bedrevidende, at være tæt på kejserens private bolig.
En ny udstilling “A Celebration of the Feminine” åbnede på Nytorv i 2019 og den seneste kunstudstilling som Mathilde står bag, åbnede på venstrepolitikeren Kim Valentins kontor på Christiansborg d. 9 oktober 2020 (se hjemmeside:
The Female Beauty Project's history:
The Female Beauty project was first shown in DGI-Byen (swimming hall and culture center) in Copenhagen in 2014, and it quickly became famous in the women's magazines, because the body-positive exhibition was met with so much resistance from visitors that it was taken down before time.
The next and second exhibition held on the Illutron art boat in Copenhagen, was vandalized and it made headlines in the local media. Meanwhile, the artist applied to exhibit in a public city square, but the police refused to let her show her her pictures in public space. This created a media storm which spread to the whole world, (see articles in CV). But with the help of the media and later from danish politicians, the project was "blue-stamped" when the minister of culture, Bertel Haarder opened Mathilde's new, large, sponsored exhibition at Nytorv in Copenhagen in 2016, with a beautiful speech.
The following year, Mathilde was given two educational trips to Ukraine and Japan, where she photographed women and exhibited the project. The Danish embassy in Tokyo wrote a letter of recommendation, which helped her get her art into the otherwise difficult-to-access Japanese art scene. The letter and the embassy also helped her out of the clutches of the police, who arrested Mathilde for photographing a model on a public beach outside Tokyo when the location turned out to be close to the emperor's private residence. Mathilde did not know this and apoligized for her mis step.
A new exhibition “A Celebration of the Feminine” opened at Nytorv in 2019 and the latest art exhibition that Mathilde has made, opened at the left-wing politician Kim Valentin's office at Christiansborg on the 9th of October 2020 (see website: www.mathildegrafstrom.com/christiansborg).
The way we feel inside, is also the way we look on the outside.
The way we experience ourselves, is also the way others experience us.
This is our negative self image: The way we see ourselves.
And this is determined by all the thoughts we are having about ourselves...: Who we are, how we behave, how we look, what we ca do and cannot do, what we want and do not want...
This is the Female Beauty project: To fight the negative self image!
- and that's the fight that all people who wants to be free, beautiful and happy, must fight.
We are our own worst enemy.
And we must defeat this enemy to become the beautiful human beings we are meant to be.
All women have a deep and marvelous beauty that need not be compared to others, but only celebrated. "Female Beauty" is based on the fact that all women are beautiful if they allow themselves to be. We must fight the negative self-image that most women suffer from and makes them unhappy. "Female Beauty" is a series of photographs of ordinary women, shown naked in nature - taken to show that all women have infinite beauty if we just dare find it and share it with others.
The project is a love project about the body, created to inspire all women in the world to accept the body and life as it is. And the art project is a response to today's New Puritan trend that blurs society today, which is not only harmful to a whole generation of young women, but also contradicts the idea of freedom and the right to be as one is.
The project demands a more inclusive and real perception of beauty from society. The women on the pictures are beautiful, not because they are "Photoshopped", because they are not - but because they have laid their facade down, so you can see their spontaneous expression of life.
With the 2016 Nytorv exhibition, Denmark could once again pride itself on being one of the most liberal countries in the world. The purpose with the exhibition was to help women of the world to a greater self-acceptance and a more body-positive attitude.
According to the Mathilde, we sabotage our own beauty, energy and joy of life by thinking negatively about ourselves and our body, and therefore Mathilde Grafström has decided to show her art of completely natural, non-manipulated and completely innocent women's body that she believe can change the society's attitude to what beauty really is.
Often the models on the pictures are very surprised at the beauty they did not know they contained, they can even often not recognize themselves on the pictures and the shooting is therefore also a completely changing experience.
Mathilde says ”When we don't make our self small, boring and ugly with our own thoughts, we shine naturally of beauty, life and joy" she says and continues: ”All humans have more beauty in them than they realize. And it can be called forward in one days time, if we are willing to work with our self and question all our negative beliefs about our self.”
"I love to photograph my models whilst they are naked. But sometimes it can be difficult because I also fight with my own problems; I think my hips and breasts are too small. Sometimes when my boyfriend are looking at my body, I think that I'm unattractive. But then I can see that it's all the negative thoughts about my body that makes me less beautiful and unfree. When I think harder about it, then these thoughts are not new, but very old - I came to believe this about myself early in my life as a little girl, when I didn't receive the love and care I needed from my parents.
I dreamt of being my fathers little princess, but I rarely was, so I came to believe that I was not pretty enough for him. Today I know that these thoughts are nonsense and not true. When I am weeding my inner flowerbed from old thoughts, I get really happy. And I see that I am perfect just as I am.
This is the knowledge I use when I help my models to find their beauty - and suddenly the girl that I'm working with, can let go and show herself to me. And this is the moment where she is full of life, and that makes me so happy to see. This is also when I just know that these pictures are great, because this is all it takes to look amazing.
"It's important for me that my models understand that the pictures I want to make of her, is not about how she looks physically, but about the life energi and beauty she contains. I believe that the saying, that true beauty comes from inside, is actually true, so it's not so much about the pose or position she is in when we are shooting, but more about the deeper understanding of herself, and when she gets that - the real work has begun.
Often when they see the pictures after the shooting has ended, I succeed with making women really happy for a longer period of time, when they realize that they are actually really wonderful, alive and beautiful.."