Frauke Frech was born in 1982 in Leipzig. She studied Performance and Fine Arts with La Ribot and Yan Duyvendak at Haute Ecole d'art et design, Geneva and at Muthesius Academy for Art & Design, Kiel. She is the founder of The Grand Beauty Salon.
Frauke Frech combines performance art with intervention, video, graphics and text through which she explores personal and social relationships, boundaries and translation processes. In her long-term project My own private Germany she has been working since 2013 – in the sense of social sculpture – with local communities at characteristic places in Germany on our society. So far in Duisburg-Marxloh, Augsburg, Chemnitz, Berlin-Lichtenberg.
Attempt at a self-portraitParticularly when I am in foreign countries, my name becomes quite difficult for others to get their mouth around. I am given new names, each time becoming someone else. I take in all of these encounters and they shape me – in some cases more strongly than others – into the person I am capable of being. What do my age, degrees and exhibitions – which are supposed to say something about my reputation – really say about me?
Am I the same person that you see in me?
In art, I search for the most powerful means of approaching the other, the goal of this exchange being to discover something that connects us, that lasts beyond this moment, that can alter the reality between us.
In The Grand Beauty Salon, I work with a cosmopolitan ensemble, engaging with the vulnerable, outer limits of the human being. The places where we negotiate with ourselves over beauty and flaws – day in, day out – and where our own self-perception manifests itself.
You normally don't see what lies behind a mirror.
The Grand Beauty Salon is to be a place where social equality can exist for different, culturally shaped concepts of beauty, and where we can gain more intimate insight into the other and into ourselves.
Beauty Action CentreHow do women in India practice their struggle for gender equality and how can this show in outward appearance?
The Beauty Action Centre is an intervention which I want to initiate as a nomadic, pop-up place together with the Blank Noise movement in Bangalore. Just as with The Grand Beauty Salon I am looking for local beauty experts, with whom I want to establish a safe space to exchange our different experiences as women in patriarchy-dominated worlds – questioning female stereotypes in our appearance, behaviour and role models. It is embedded in the setting of a cosmopolitan beauty salon where oppressive images can be deconstructed through the invention of our own.
The discourse in Germany about sexual harassment in India is highly influenced by the way mass media reports about it. What is the real situation?
Following the events of the New Year's Eve 15/16 in Cologne and the successful "No means No" campaign (inflamed through the Lohfink case), sexual attacks on women were back in the headlines of the German media. However, there is still also in our world - in spite of the emancipation of women - the need to raise awareness, in particular about the subtlety of sexual harassment (by men regardless of their cultural background) and to stand up against it. My aim within the Beauty Action Centre is to gain encouraging experience and to communicate it through an international network, to confront the injustice that befalls women all over the globe and to mutually empower to say "No, I never asked for it!"
Jasmeen, Vira, Vasundhara, Eeshita, Rishita, Chitra gave me a very warm welcome, which made me feel at home in Yelahanka (North of Bangalore) right away. Since the BN office is located at the Srishti Heritage Campus I was to stay in a nice compound close by (which had its advantages and disadvantages – travelling into the city mostly takes an hour or longer).
But most important for me was the interest in my approach and the motivation of the BN Action Heroes to help with personal as well as practical information. I could always come up with whatever and there would be a willing ear to listen to me. Thank you all for having taken me to your favourite beauty parlours, trusting me with personal experiences and making me part of your life for this limited period of time or beyond. This goes to the BN Action Heroes I met, my Yelahanka stay-at-home-friends, various beauticians from whom I've learned, the Vimochana feminists who were so inviting as to host us and our MEHENDI happening, the diverse bunch of women who made that final happening possible and so rich, my Bangalore friends for making me feel at home and giving only honest advice.
Nevertheless, Blank Noise is an NGO (doing political work through artistic means), run by a 2-person board only, meaning you are most likely the one who can get involved in BN activities, rather than that they would have the capacity to do so in yours.
To get a glimpse of what happened during my residency http://thegrandbeautysalon.tumblr.com/
Prospect for further collaboration with Blank Noise I NEVER ASK FOR IT:
not stopping to ask these delicate questions wherever I go; with the idea of a global community in mind; sharing insights in those who are affected in both cultures.