AWARE, for Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions is a non-profit organisation, co-founded in 2014 by Camille Morineau, art historian and specialist in the history of women artists. Its goal is the creation, indexation and broadcasting of information on women artists of the 20th century.
1. Female artists are underrepresented, if not conspicuously scarce in art publications, exhibitions and museum collections. Is AWARE on a mission to set history aright?
I founded AWARE in order to address the enormous lack of information on half of Art history’s contributors –women artists. It is paramount to question the issue of women in culture today, however our future depends on the past: if we manage to prove that women shared the same artistic impulses as men, that they both existed and worked fully as much as men did in the century in which their history began to be recorded (the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries), our representation of the world will evolve. Where is their work to be found? What does it say about them, about men, about the world? To ask oneself these questions is already to act; finding the answers is also about finding the means to an end – meaning. Meaning is politics: it belongs to everyone; it is an area for action and representation.
2. Why are you participating in #MuseumWeek?
We participate in #MuseumWeek by daily publishing portraits of artists on our website, in relation with the movement and the suggested hashtag. We highlight the contents of our research, which is very personified: it is the life and work of women artists, the vast majority of whom are unknown not only to the general public, but also to specialists. The reason why our site is visited today by more than 20,000 people a month: the information contained there has become useful. A visit on the AWARE website is a bit of a visit to a museum where almost all the works are novelty; and thanks to #MuseumWeek hopefully this space dedicated to female artists will gain visibility.
3. What does the movement #womeninculture stand for in your view?
What’s at stake for #womeninculture as a global movement is chiefly visibility: one would be deluded into thinking that women have been justly treated by culture historians, and / or that culture is a domain more equal than others. However, that is not the case; adjustments must be made here as elsewhere, with rather strong symbolic fallouts. Short of changing our representations of the world, its reality will not be able to morph in any depth. Using the Web to showcase this issue means using the most effective tool at hand.