International Web Community for Scandinavian Studies


News from the world of Scandinavian Studies

Call for papers: International conference at the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, 8 March 2019

She is no gentle lamb in the cave of the werewolf: Women artists in Scandinavia, 1900-1960.

This international conference is held in conjunction with the exhibition Sonja Ferlov Mancoba (9 February – 5 May 2019) at the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen and Centre Pompidou, Paris—the largest ever showcase of the work of the pioneering Danish artist Sonja Ferlov Mancoba (1911-1984). Co-hosted by the Department of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen and funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

For Ferlov Mancoba, who was an important contributor to several avant-garde movements, including French and Danish Surrealism and Cobra, it was “only by virtue of each other can we live and breathe, and no one creates alone.” Such a humanistic ideal lay behind the Cobra approach to art, and implies a certain relationship between artists, as well as the artist and viewer, which relies on cooperation and equality irrespective of gender. This was something the Cobra figures themselves recognized at the time, or as the poet Edouard Jaguer described it in his Cobra Library monograph on Ferlov Mancoba’s friend, the painter Else Alfelt, in relation to her male Cobra counterparts: “She is no gentle lamb in the cave of the werewolf.” Why then, do progressive women artists such as Ferlov Mancoba and Alfelt continue to remain less visible than the male artists of the movements with which they were associated? The conference seeks to address the persistent inequality in the dissemination, reception, and art historical scholarship treating Scandinavian women artists active during the first half of the twentieth century before the advent of the feminist movement in the 1960s. We invite papers that consider: how Scandinavian women artists formulated artistic subjectivity, identity, and autonomy within art movements; how their work advanced or challenged the criteria of the movements with which they were involved; the strategies they developed in order to navigate environments that restricted their professional access; the critical reception of their work and the conditions surrounding their later art historical treatment, and the impact of a specifically Scandinavian context on the contribution of women modern art professionals. We especially encourage papers that present new research, methodological approaches, and subjects. Selected papers will be published in English as part of a scholarly anthology on the subject in 2020.

Proposals for this conference must include (in English)
• An abstract of maximum 300 words
• An academic resume with full contact information including email

Papers will be 20 minutes in length and followed by discussion.

Proposals should be sent to Kerry Greaves at lapaix0509(at) by 25 January 2019. You will be notified by 1 February 2019 of your acceptance.