’Hovedtøj’ (headwear) is a small book created for the exhibition ’Trine Søndergaard. Herfra hvor vi står’ (Trine Søndergaard. From Where We Stand) at Skive Museum 2019/2020.
The book Hovedtøj by Trine Søndergaard consists of a new series of images that Søndergaard created specifically for the exhibition in Skive by photographing young, local girls wearing historical headwear connected to the Skive area which Søndergaard borrowed from the collection of cultural history at Skive Museum. Nineteenth-century hats, bonnets, veils, and hair jewellery were an important identity marker for women, since it differentiated between single or married, young or old, rich or poor, and regional origin.
All of the historical headwear in the images has been hand-sewn with materials bought from shops, itinerant pedlars, or made from alterations of other items of clothing. Several bonnets, for example, were made by stitching together saved, treasured and expensive silk ribbons from France, Switzerland, and Germany and were used to indicate social status. A special feature of the hats from the island of Fur near Skive is the green colour and the characteristic arched shape of the sewed-on bows.
The work also features a different kind of embellishment, namely hair jewellery made of human hair and a significant item of mid-nineteenth-century fashion. Hair jewellery gained popularity partly because the peasantry could not afford jewellery made from precious metals. This jewellery also had a secondary function as remembrance jewellery, containing hair from a specific person.
The characteristic stillness of Søndergaard’s work pervades the serene portraits manifesting the imperceptible or that which elects to remain obscure. At a first glance, the photographs give the impression of presenting historical pictures, but upon closer inspection one discovers the minute discrepancies of time and visual clashes present in the images. By photographing the models in their own favourite clothes while wearing the historical headdresses, Søndergaard creates an anachronistic meeting ground where the small modern labels and the girls’ personal and modern jewellery marks a conspicuous tension between new and old, past and present. These visual encounters create a condensed accumulation of time embodying both a personal, cultural and historical expression that resonate with contemporary debate on national sentiment, identity, the attitude towards headdresses and the history of women.