During the Pride week bar Gaukurinn will be presenting a photo exhibition by Kaspars Bekeris. A selection of behind the scenes photographs taken during several drag shows and a drag contest in Reykjavik and Akureyri this year.
“When I started the project, I wasn’t familiar with this form of art. I had never been to a drag show before. So, I was expecting to take pictures of all the glitter and glamour; perfect make up, colorful wigs, wild costumes etc.
Well, as well as finding all that I found so much more,” admits Kaspars, when asked about his exhibition, titled F*CK GENDER, that opens at bar Gakurinn tonight at 19PM and will be showcased this week, during Reykjavík Pride.
The project follows a group of drag artists from Iceland exploring the performative nature of gender.
“My aim was to document drag as a critique of the artificial nature of gender. But instead of that I became more and more interested with the people themselves. I realized that gender is not important, because of the simple fact that there is no such thing as gender.”
You’ve been photographing them for the last six months, why were you initially drawn to them?
“I guess I’ve just always been interested in other human beings. I love that special process when you see a person for the first time and your mind starts filling all the blank spaces about that person.
“I wasn’t familiar with this form of art. I had never been to a drag show before. So, I was expecting to take pictures of all the glitter and glamour … Well, as well as finding all that I found so much more.”
Who is that person? Why is that person there? What is that person thinking? That is the reason I love street photography and portraits the most. It tells a story and leaves free space for imagination at the same time.”
Kaspars says that through witnessing playful ways of drag performers destroying, mocking or adding new layers of gender identity, each of his photographs is an attempt to catch a glimpse of human being beyond the limits of heteronormativity.
“But in the end there is just one important thing I can walk away with, after spending last six months with these wonderful people. And it is pure enjoyment of being. The way you are.”
The exhibition opens at bar Gaukurin tonight, August the 7th, at 19PM. Guests will also get a change to witness drag performances by artists from Drag-Súgur and have a chat over a welcome drink with drag artists and the photographer himself.
Photos: Kaspars Bekeris.