Location: Scuderie Ducali, Piazza San Romano 4
Opening times: Monday – Thursday 3pm – 7:30pm / Friday – Sunday 10am – 7: 30pm
MARTA BOGDAŃSKA – LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME
The project is the first of more upcoming investigations into queer biographies of important figures in literature, culture and the arts: juxtaposing them with the contemporary situation of LGBTQ+ community, it looks at the relevance of uncovering, underlying, bringing back the forgotten, hidden or never told stories from the past. Through choices of specific geographic regions and personas from our common history, Bogdańska delves deeper into local context at the same time asking broader questions about queer representation, importance of queer biographies and queer history universally.
The term ‘love that dare not speak its name’ comes from Lord Alfred Douglas’s poem, and was used by Oscar Wilde, another famous queer celebrity, to refer to homosexual love.
The project follows the footsteps of Selma Lagerlöf, a Swedish writer and the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in literature in 1909 and be admitted to Swedish Academy in 1914. On the surface, a stern spinster, or “snow queen” as Lagerlöf was called during her life, she proved everyone wrong when her intimate correspondences – which she had asked to be made public only 50 years after her death – revealed a colourful hidden love life. Lagerlöf wrote extensively to her two female lovers. Finally published in 1990, her enormous collection of private letters, notable amongst which Lagerlöf’s letters to Sophie Elkan, Du lär mig att bli fri (You Teach Me to Be Free) tell a passionate love story that began in 1894 continuing until Elkan’s death in 1921. The letters showed that Lagerlöf had a love triangle involving another woman, Valborg Olander, whom she met in 1898 and who became her other long-lasting love.
What traces of Lagerlöf, her life, and her intimate thoughts and feelings can be found today? How can we connect to her inner-life through photography? Bogdańska finds the spaces that she inhabited, walked, attended, visited in Landskrona – where Lagerlöf lived between 1885 and 1895 –, and investigates the subtle, mysterious, secret atmosphere of her life – reflected in the tissue of the city and space, nature and the sea. In a way Lagerlöf herself sent her own letters into the future, hoping that after her death they will find a more open-minded spirit amongst people.
On the other hand Bogdańska looks at the queer life nowadays in Landskrona and in the region. How does this future, the ‘years after’, which Lagerlöf so longed for but would never live to see, look like today. How profound is the change for queer people?
By weaving several elements together, Bogdańska combines archival research with her own photography, video essay, and portraits and interviews of local queer persons.
Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name looks at Selma’s queer legacy through contemporary lens, and explores if and why such legacy is important. Queering Selma’s biography turns out to be, still nowadays and even in Sweden where the LGBTQ+ community’s rights are regarded as some of the most progressive in Europe and in the world, a significant gesture.