Girls/Museum doc film studies visual art’s gender codes via young female viewers’ angles

Asha Bajaj
3 min readOct 31, 2020

#Germany; #DocumentaryFilm; #Girls/Museum, #ShellySilver; #VisualArt; #YoungFemaleViewers

Germany, Oct 30: ‘Girls/Museum,’ documentary film produced at the House Productions by the US film-maker, and artist, directed and edited by Shelly Silver is being shown in the 63rd International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (ILF) 2020 from Oct 26 — Nov 1, 2020, ILF reports said.

Image credit. Official Facebook

Silver contemplates, in this documentary film, the gender codes of visual art through the perspective of 16 young female viewers ranging in age from seven to nineteen years, are not named in the film, but listed by their first names in the closing credits leading to its timelessness.

The exploration’s timeline runs from the past to the present, from the pierced Feet of Jesus Christ via a reclining naked nymph by Lucas Cranach the Elder to the more recent photo of the Swedish artist Arvida Byström.

These young viewers largely focus on the depictions of women in these various works on artworks in the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts commenting on the images. Examining an Eve painted by German Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, one girl suggests that she looks “kind of devious” — then speculates on Eve’s thoughts about plucking the Apple (“She’s going to do it anyway. She knows it’ll turn out badly”).

Their spontaneous interpretations of the works revolve around the paintings to reveal different things about themselves, depending on their points of view.

“Shit that I’m not a boy”, a teenager exclaims as she stands in front of the painting of a rich young man who lived centuries before her, perhaps in the Netherlands. Because boys are allowed much more, she says. Playing basketball outside, for example.

Shelly Silver’s hypothesis is both simple and fruitful which emphasizes that the outside perspective always leads back to one’s own perspective.

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Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women