Marie Wengler

Marie Wengler is a Danish contemporary photographer and researcher (PhD) within behavioral sciences (the intersection between sociology, anthropology and social, cognitive and behavioral psychology).

Being diagnosed Mensa (“neurodiverse”) at a young age, Marie has experienced what means to deviate from normality on a personal level. The diagnose has profoundly shaped her view of herself as a person, and, in particular, as a woman. Since current gender stereotypes still establish normative expectations for women’s behavior, including that they exhibit emotional sensitivity, self-effacing, and collaborative skills – traits that Mensa’s have cognitive inherent difficulty expressing – Marie has experienced on her own body the social penalties of deviating as a woman and the mental burden that accompanies this deviation.

Marie’s study of deviance thus stems from personal experiences, but, over the years, has developed into a coherent theme which examines broader societal understandings of what it means to be a woman. A theme, that Marie explores from different angles – in her photography and in her research.

Marie’s research and artistic practice are deeply intertwined: in both her research and photography she explores how societal norms influence our behavior and how we, in turn, influence societal norms.

Specifically, Marie is interested in understanding the limits of what we in today’s society perceive as “normality.” She does so by seeking out and showing what is considered “deviant” – be it physically, mentally or sexually – to, thereby, question how normality is constructed and defined.

This examination of normality and associated deviance is performed via a female gaze, since the female body and mind, in particular, has been – and still is – subject to societal normalization practices in society.

In many of her series, Marie approaches her own body like a sculptor modeling clay. The aesthetic expression of each picture is deliberately staged. She thus enters a long tradition where (female) artists use their own body in their artistic practice. Her body is perceived as a transformative material that is used to illuminate broader female experiences of deviating in society – as well as reflecting on her personal experiences with performing her gender incongruently compared to existing gender role expectations.

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