59th Venice Biennale, Venice

April 23 – November 27, 2022

59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia: THE MILK OF DREAMS

Sidsel Meineche Hansen

In a world where CCTV cameras record all manner of public life, private images are ceaselessly uploaded to social media, deep fakes abound, and digital avatars can simulate human behaviour with increasing accuracy, our understanding of the body is progressively harder to separate from digital life. In Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s provocative and unsettling work, the ways these forms of photographic, televisual, and digital media impact our perceptions of ourselves is brought into sharp focus. Hansen’s work fixates on the amassment of capital created through the gendering of bodies, especially in the field of pornography. The video Maintenancer (2018), made in collaboration with filmmaker Therese Henningsen, focuses on the maintenance of sex dolls at a German doll brothel, presenting viewers in direct confrontation with women’s bodies as they are crafted and idealised for consumption, and the work of conservation involved in preserving their appearance. Many of Hansen’s sculptures follow a similar logic to her digitally rendered dolls: Daddy Mould (2018), the empty fibreglass mould of a silicon sex doll and Untitled (Sex Robot) (2018–2019), a ball-jointed wooden marionette, each reference human physical functionality but nonetheless maintain their commodity status. Like the technologised bodies in Hansen’s videos, art, sex, and product are closely linked.

Text by: Madeline Weisburg

Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

– Photo: Marco Cappelletti
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Daddy Mould, industrial cast in two parts made from fibreglass, resin and vaseline, 149 × 37 × 92 cm and 149 × 48 × 89 cm, 2018. Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Daddy Mould, industrial cast in two parts made from fibreglass, resin and vaseline, 149 × 37 × 92 cm and 149 × 48 × 89 cm, 2018. Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

– Photo: Marco Cappelletti
Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

– Photo: Marco Cappelletti
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Untitled (blueprint for sex robot), technical drawing printed on paper, pen and pencil, custom made beech box frame, acid free / reversible mounting, 207 × 144 cm, 2018. Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Untitled (blueprint for sex robot), technical drawing printed on paper, pen and pencil, custom made beech box frame, acid free / reversible mounting, 207 × 144 cm, 2018. Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

– Photo: Marco Cappelletti
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Untitled (Sex Robot), ball jointed wooden doll, 176 × 25 × 40 cm, 2018–2019. Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Untitled (Sex Robot), ball jointed wooden doll, 176 × 25 × 40 cm, 2018–2019. Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

– Photo: Marco Cappelletti
Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

Installation view, The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2022.

– Photo: Marco Cappelletti