Portrait of Lasse Svartsröm (quartet, 4 photographs, 160 x 127 cm each, 2011, from the series Anatomy of Man).
"In the pictures of HOW TO BE A WOMAN OR A MAN? I try to make visible the internal and external struggle they go through when they try to live with the male and female gender roles that our culture has produced. Some just try to fit to the expectations, some try to modify the given roles and some directly rebel against the roles. My premise thus is that these roles have very little to do with biology and that I'm investigating a cultural, political and philosophical struggle for identities and empowerment. That gender roles are products of culture is potentially both an oppressive and emancipatory fact.
The oppressing side is that as gender roles are created and defined in by social and political forces, they can be – and usually are – as unequal, as unfair as any other structure in society. A stereotypical gender role in this sense is almost automatically a prison that restricts a person's personality and/or enables him/her to restrict other people's personalities.
The benign and emancipatory side of the same thing is that a person is not at the mercy of his/her biological or cultural gender, one is not "born to become a man (or a woman)", but can instead understand that his/her gender identity was and continually is formed by culture and she/he can and should take the steering wheel in this process – to be an active subject, not a printout of cultural prejudice.
Of course my photo series is not only an investigation of gender, but also of how is it to be a human, but I think that gender structure and struggle is the key political arena and is thus a sensible focus of inquiry."
Woman and Meat Industry / Nainen ja lihateollisuus, 2011, 6:30