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GUM opens PHALLUS. Norm & Form

The exhibition PHALLUS. Norm & Form focusses on the male member. Is that putting it on a pedestal? Maybe - but only so that it can also be pulled down. One thing is sure: Phallus. Norm & Form is smashing all sorts of stereotypes.


The penis is everywhere. Where there are people, there are phallic forms: in prehistoric caves, in the graffiti on a WC door and in social media. Medical research is also overwhelmingly about the penis: female genitalia comes in a poor second. Is this justifiable? Or is this the result of unconscious or conscious social bias?

In Phallus. Norm & Form, scientists and artists train their gaze on the nether regions. Is the penis in charge of reproduction? Are sex toys the result of scientific research? Does the phallus make the man - or quite the contrary?

Marjan Doom

Director GUM


When we started preparing for the expo three years ago, we were aware that the line between platitudes and the GUM's mission could be very thin. We have found that right tone and, inquisitive as we are, we looked down with a wide visor. The expo is not only about the ubiquitous penis, but we also give the female genitalia their rightful place. Together with visitors, we research why this gap in attention exists. Are there social and/or scientific explanations or are those motivations perhaps not so different at all?

In keeping with its commitment to provide a “Forum for Science, Doubt & Art”, GUM’s new exhibition presents a dialogue between science and art. The work of national and international researchers (among others, Piet Hoebeke, Guy T’Sjoen, Joz Motmans, Alexis Dewaele, Marieke Dewitte, Patricia Brennan, Nicole Prause, Helen O’Connell and Jasmine Abdulcadir) is joined by that of artists (including Berlinde de Bruyckere (BE), Maria Fernanda Cardoso (CO/AU), Murielle Scherre (BE), David Hockney (UK), Grayson Perry (UK), Man Ray (US), Vajinsky and Jean Tinguely (CH)). The Ghent visual artist Sofie Muller is showing new work specially created for the glasshouses in the Botanical Garden.

Together with the exhibition, GUM is launching an extensive programme for the general public, with talks, salons, workshops and much more. These events are a collaboration between GUM and many other organisations, including çavaria, Sensoa, Wel Jong and Transgender Infopunt.

24.03.2022 – 08.01.2023

With support of:

Foto's: Mara Standaert & Martin Corlazzoli

With support of

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