Exhibition  /  07 Sep 2009  -  12 Sep 2009
Published: 25.08.2009
Gallery Vita Havet, Konstfack
Ruudt Peters

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(...) This is a project arranged by Ruudt Peters an artist from the Netherlands, and will feature over 120 works of art from artists and designers all over the world. (...)
Lingam is one of the oldest religious symbols of our civilization. The phallic symbol, by which the god Shiva (a Hindu god of prosperity) is worshiped, stands for life, fertility and sex. Lingam is a mythical word of different senses. According to Tantric schools it means Shiva’s phallus, but in old Sanskrit it is a symbol representing Shiva and the creation, often shaped in the form of an ellipse (without beginning and end) of stone and metal. In Sanskrit linga also means sign, symbol or mark.
The concept of fertility is conveyed and valued in different ways in different cultures. In Southeast Asia Shiva’s sacred symbol is still honored in almost every street corner. The phallic images carved in stone and wood are touched, painted with red ochre and given sacred offerings of rice, flowers and fruit. Sometimes Lingam is depicted together with Yoni, its female opposite.
The way in which the Western World handles sexuality and religion is different from the eastern experience. In the West, Lingam is primarily perceived as a symbol of pleasure and sex. In the East sexual and religious worship are closely connected to each other often done in public. Since we have a more open attitude towards sex, their attitude is prudish in our eyes, and vice versa, we are seen as prude when it comes to religion. 

Lingam is not only a fertility symbol; it represents also a primordial power of creation which is clearly connected to sexual energy. Lingam contains an energy, inherent in everyone. In the civilizations of the East the union of male and female energies is perceived as the highest ideal. The harmony between the two of them gives rise to creativity, a power which we all have. During the course of time these flows of energy have become more and more superficial and come further away from (the Western) man. How did this happen? And what is the correlation between man’s relation to his environment and the objects, and man’s relation concerning sexuality and religion? These questions were the ground of the Lingam exhibition. 

The Lingam Exhibition presents a modern interpretation of an ancient tradition seen through the eyes of 125 jewelry manufacturers, designers, artists and architects from 28 countries. Life, fertility and sex are very personal values, values that require careful approach. Lingam throws a different light on fertility symbols in a time when the Western society is being saturated with sex in the vulgar sense of the word. Our western interpretation requires a contrasting picture from the world of art. A new view which once more will put the original religious context of the Lingam in focus. Lingam does not exclusively stand for pleasure but primarily for life and love. 

This exhibition has been put together by Ruudt Peters, Artist and Professor in Adellab at Konstfack. He asked 150 artists and designers of 28 different nationalities and a mixture of genders, ages and sexual dispositions to create a fertility symbol. When selecting the artist, he used the criteria: quality, interest and these artists’ approach to the theme. 

125 of the artists responded to Ruudt Peter’s invitation. Each artist has entered deeper into the theme and expressed her/his own representation of fertility. The pedestals were designed by the students of the Adellab metal design department. 



For more information please contact
Professor Ruudt Peters
Adellab Konstfack Stockholm
0031650293293 or 0031206257475
Sofia Bjorkman. Brooch: Untitled, 2009. Gold, print, plastic. Sofia Bjorkman
Brooch: Untitled, 2009
Gold, print, plastic
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Celio Braga. Piece: Untitled, 2009. Wood. Celio Braga
Piece: Untitled, 2009
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Dagmar Heeser. Piece: Untitled, 2009. Mixed media. Dagmar Heeser
Piece: Untitled, 2009
Mixed media
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Suska Mackert. Piece: Untitled, 2009. Mixed media. Suska Mackert
Piece: Untitled, 2009
Mixed media
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