Anna-Stina Treumund (1982–2017) was a lesbian artist, the first in Estonia to identify as such. Her background was in photography and gender studies, and a major part of her work is directly linked to queer-feminist activism and BDSM-culture.
The exhibition “You, Me and Everyone We Don’t Know” (2010) included Treumund’s first photo series which focused on lesbian identity and her contemporaries in the queer community in Estonia during the late 2000s. This series looked on the one hand, at the dreams of lesbian women, such as partnership, marriage, having children, sexual desires, familial intimacy, as well as the right of gender self-identification. On the other hand, the exhibition introduced terms like “drag” and “queer” to the Estonian feminist art community for the first time, and listed famous lesbians and lesbian feminists from Gertrude Stein to Lisa Duggan. The show was a turning point for the community of Estonian gender studies as well as for the art field – from that point on, queer theory and activism have been increasingly clearly highlighted. The work “Loser 2011” (2011), an homage to Kai Kaljo, took a strong critical stance against patriarchy, and ridiculed men whose masculinity was based on homophobia.
In the following years, Treumund continued seeking, creating and interpreting the lesbian and BDSM community in a historic context. In the series “Woman in the Corner of Mutsu’s Drawings” (2010) Treumund re-staged Marju Mutsu’s series of prints “One” and “Together”, in which the latter shows two women on a bed, yet in Treumund’s interpretation she remained alone, waiting for the other. In 2012 the artist presented the series “Lilli, Reed, Frieda, Sabine, Eha, Malle, Alfred, Rein and Mari“. Treumund invited her close friends to embody women and transgender people from the 19th and 20th centuries, whose relationships we know nothing about or, conversely, whose intimate life has been published in newspapers extensively. With this series, Treumund created a visual image of a past yet to be discovered by historians. In 2013 Treumund closed a chapter in her research into lesbian identity and community with the exhibition “Well then, Jane, call to aid your fancy:– suppose you were no longer a girl well reared and disciplined, but a wild boy indulged from childhood upwards”. The artist looked at well-known children’s stories from a queer perspective, depicting them according to her own image and dreams.
In 2015 Treumund began a new creative chapter with the exhibition “Dread”, stemming from her interest in BDSM practices. One of the central photos of the exhibition is “Une possibilité d’orgasm” (2014), a paraphrase of Gustave Courbet’s painting “L’Origine du monde” (1866). Treumund extended her depictions of sexuality in her most substantial solo show titled “M’s Wet Dream” (Tartmus 2016, curated by Rael Artel), focusing on women’s sexual pleasure. In addition to photographs evoking fisting, the show presented installations of BDSM clothing items and bondage, a clitoris sculpture, drawings, and a cast sculpture of a peeing school girl.
Anna-Stina Treumund studied photography at Tartu Art College (BFA, 2007). She completed her Master’s studies (MFA, 2010) and was a PhD student at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Additionally, Treumund studied in the gender studies programme at Linköping University, at the Vilnius Art Academy, at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and participated in several residencies. Treumund founded the feminist festival LadyFest Tallinn (2011–2018) and was one of the initiators of the largest feminist Facebook groups in Estonia, Virginia Woolf Sind Ei Karda! Her works belong to the collections of Art Museum Estonia and Tartu Art Museum as well as private collections.