20.07.31 – Gallery Frihamnstorget – Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson

Gallery Frihamnstorget – Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson – July, September, 2020 – Södra Hamnvägen 5

ABOUT the artist

Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson is an artist based in London (UK) and Stockholm (SE). Born in Stockholm 1990, Klementsson is known for her large scale paintings of fleshy human bodies performing naked drag. Klementsson did a Painting Master at the Royal College of Art in London 2020 – 2022 and is represented by Galleri Duerr in Stockholm. Klementsson lived in Perth (AU) 2011 – 2016 where she received a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin University 2015. Klementsson has exhibited in London, Berlin, Leipzig, Perth, Stockholm, Gävle and Kettinge. Klementsson was a three month artist in residence at Pilotenkueche in Leipzig October to December 2019.

Represented by Galleri Duerr


ABOUT the exhibition

I paint naked drag in flesh layers.
Naked drag is gender subversive poses posed by naked bodies, using the power of the
pose alone to both identify and deconstruct gender roles. The poses pose the inevitable
question: what happens when men are posed as the other, and when women are posed as
men? I am interested in asking the question and provoking thought rather than supplying an
ultimate answer. Although, my work aims to deconstruct gender roles, into an unimagined
future where gender is obsolete.
I coined the term naked drag in my dissertation at the Royal College of Art 2021. The
dissertation was written on the power of the pose in contemporary and historical art to do the
same thing – to both identify and deconstruct gender roles. In the dissertation I looked at
Judith Butler’s call for drag to expose gender for what it is – a performance. The parody and
over exaggeration reveals the gender roles, and the subversion of sexes shows that it can be
performed by either sex. I believe everyone is non-binary, beneath the construction of gender.
The project naked drag started in 2014 at the end of my Bachelor at Curtin University in
Perth, Australia. I took iconic nude poses from fashion advertising, and made my models pose
the same way as those images, only that I subverted the gender, so I would have male
identified models posing after female nude fashion images and vice versa. The patterns
became clear when confronted with subversions – the female poses seductive but passive, male
seductive but active. What I do differently now is that I let my models perform their own poses
during the photoshoot, after asking them to find their own inner drag persona. It is a way for
me to loosen control of the process, let the models take a larger part of the shape of the
artwork and give them their own agency.
Flesh layers come from the process and materiality of my painting practice. I paint with
layers of 4 colours, and I apply one layer with one colour at a time and let it dry before I add
the next. Each layer is leaving traces of the previous layers and the underlying drawing sipping
through. In revealing the process to the viewer and leaving part of the painting unfinished, I
reveal the skeleton of the painting – the underlying drawing. I deconstruct what painting of skin
is made of and also, metaphorically, what skin is made of as layer by layer of pure colour is
peeled away. Furthermore, what gender is made of, as models perform a drag on the nude in
classical painting.
While part of the painting is rendered to the point of a hyperrealistic iridescent skin, other
parts are stripped down to their bones. Except here there is no flesh and bones. Instead there
is a drawing that reminds us of a map rather than the traditional drawing of a nude. I circle
where the shadows begin and end rather than filling the shadows in with regular hatching
techniques, just like a map encircles the corruption of the landscape – I circle the corruption of
the body and all its ‘flaws’.
Cecilia Ulfsdotter Klementsson

ABOUT the gallery

An art gallery in a yellow container that has seen 40 years on the seven seas. Located at Frihamnstorget, a new plaza in Stockholm for art, crafts and events – open to your initiative.


Galleri Frihamnstorget is available to selected artists for a calendar month at a time. Artists are selected based on their proposed exhibitions submitted on our platform as well as through direct invitation. Exhibiting at Gallery Frihamnstorget is free and access to tools, machines and workspaces can be given through signing up for a one month membership to House Blivande. We currently do not take any provisions from art sold at the gallery. https://www.gallerifrihamnstorget.com/

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