Let's Talk: Trans Representation
Foam invites historian Alex Bakker and Assistant Professor Eliza Steinbock for a double lecture on gender identity around the work of photographer Remsen Wolff (1940 – 1998). The event will be concluded with a conversation moderated by Bappie Kortram, co-host Kutmannen.

On Wednesday 7 October, Foam organises the event Let's Talk: Trans Representation. The event takes place in the context of the current exhibition Amsterdam Girls by Remsen Wolff, who photographed genderfluid individuals in Amsterdam in the early 1990s.

Foam invites Alex Bakker, historian and author of the book Transgender in Nederland (2018) and Eliza Steinbock, Assistant Professor in Cultural Analysis at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, for a double lecture on gender identity. The event will be concluded with a conversation moderated by Bappie Kortram, co-host Kutmannen.

The evening will shed light on what it meant to be transgender in the days of Remsen Wolff, and in what way matters of identification and representation in Wolff's work may persist in the present day. Alex Bakker will outline a history of the trans community in the Netherlands in the 90s, highlighting how visual representation has been influenced by the media and changed over time. Responding to this, Eliza Steinbock will draw the images and objects in the exhibition into the present day, asking what they might say about Wolff and responding to the work in the context of gender and politics of sexualities.

"A jumble of terms: genderqueer, genderbender, genderfluid, agender, elisogender, gendermeander, each with its own nuance. It is a sign of the emergence of identity as a distinguishing feature and perhaps also of the need for labels. The richness of expression in language is unprecedented. But do more pigeonholes offer the solution in the fight against pigeonholing?” Transgender in Nederland, 2018 © Alex Bakker.

Remsen Wolff died in 1998, a time when the pronouns 'they', ‘them’ and 'their' were not yet used as non-binary indications of gender identity. We do not know how Wolff would have like to be addressed in 2020. In the months before Wolff decided to leave this world, the photographer went by the name Vivienne 'Viv' Blum. This shows that Wolff did not unequivocally conform to a given (gender) identity, which the artist considered to be highly fluid.⁠

All works in the exhibition Remsen Wolff - Amsterdam Girls are on loan from The Remsen Wolff Collection. Courtesy of Jochem Brouwer.

Special thanks to Transgender Netwerk Nederland for their indispensable advice.

Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Foam Members, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.

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Let's Talk: Trans Representation