Create your own version of historic painting in unique VR experience at Kunsthal Charlottenborg

All images are seen from a specific point of view that is never neutral. But how does a given point of view actually affect our way of looking at the world? The new VR experience The Female Gaze lets audiences create their own version of the iconic artwork A Young Girl Preparing Chanterelles (1892) by Danish artist Peter Ilsted. The experience is intended to raise awareness of and facilitate reinterpretations of how women have been portrayed in art history.

Kunsthal Charlottenborg, in collaboration with Meta and Make Me Pulse, now launches an all-new VR experience: The Female Gaze. This interactive and creative tool gives visitors the opportunity to create their own version of the iconic artwork A Young Girl Preparing Chanterelles (1892) by Danish artist Peter Ilsted.

Inside the VR experience, visitors can change and reinvent the work, thereby creating the narrative they wish to convey. The Female Gaze gives visitors access to a virtual photo studio where they can change the cropping, the position of the woman, her facial expression, the background and the lighting. The experience offers an opportunity to change our perspective and the way we perceive the model, thereby completely changing how we interpret the image.

The discussion on how depictions of women in art, film, advertising and the media contribute to upholding patriarchal structures in society has gone on for decades now. The VR experience The Female Gaze is inspired by and builds on ideas about how large parts of the world of art and culture have historically been subject to the male gaze.

Back in 1975, the British film theorist Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘The Male Gaze’ in her essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Here she points to how women are objectified and fetishised, thereby reaffirming the gaze and power of the male heterosexual filmmaker and the male heterosexual audience. As examples, she looks at how directors use close-ups and fragmented images of women’s body parts.

Drawing inspiration from these theories, the VR experience The Female Gaze aims to increase the viewer’s awareness of the extent to which a given point of view can influence how we perceive the world.

Kunsthal Charlottenborg also presents examples created by three Danish photographers: Lina Hashim, Sigrid Nygaard and Kia Hartelius. Each have created their own version of Ilsted’s image by means of the VR experience. Fuelled by their knowledge accumulated from working with art, media and photography, these examples are intended as inspiration for other users of the VR experience as they give the woman in the painting a whole new story.

The VR experience The Female Gaze is produced by Meta in collaboration with Kunsthal Charlottenborg and Make Me Pulse. It is launched as part of the annual Golden Days Festival, this year’s theme being Queens. Subsequently, The Female Gaze can be accessed online from Kunstal Charlottenborg’s website until 28 February 2023.

The Female Gaze
VR experience in the cinema at Kunsthal Charlottenborg
3 September – 18 September 2022
Tuesday–Sunday 12.00–17.00
Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Kongens Nytorv 1, 1050 Copenhagen K
Free admission

Original artwork: Peter Ilsted, A Young Girl Preparing Chanterelles, 1892, SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst,, public domain.