Ursula Reuter Christiansen (1943-), Marriage, 1978.
After her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf under Joseph Beuys, Ursula Reuter Christiansen arrived in Denmark in 1969. Here she was an active participant in the feminist movement and social critique prevalent in the 1970s, and she also invested her political commitment in her art.
The wardrobe as a distorted social construction
In Marriage she transforms one of the most traditional and homely pieces of furniture, the wardrobe, into a distorted reflection of a social construction.
Marriage is represented as an apocalyptic vision of marriage as a fragmented and splintered universe on its last legs: the pot of shit is overflowing, the woman’s stigma is on display, while the serpent of the Fall is crushed underfoot and the paring-knife is thrown aside.
The battle of the sexes
On the left-hand side, patriarchy is attacked: The father’s domineering visage is caught in a net, while the woman, like a frightened girl in her red stockings, timidly peeps out from behind the overcoat she uses as cover. To the right, everything is jettisoned in a battle of the sexes that also demands its sacrifices. Below, the knife and fires of hell beckon threateningly. In contrast to this horrific scene, the inside of the panel represents a pastoral idyll where a naked woman is carried off by a faun underneath a wreath of blue violets, a reference to an unfettered primordial Eros.