National Museum of Women in the Arts
Ursula Reuter Christiansen
February 13 1943 - present
Photograph of Ursula Reuter Christiansen, by York Wegerhoff, courtesy of the photographer. © York Wegerhoff, 2005
Place of Birth:
Danish, German
Phonetic Spelling:
oor-SOO-lah Roy-ter chris-TYAN-sen
Work Type/Media:
Decorative and utilitarian works, Drawings and prints, Multimedia (electronic, digital, video, film), Painting, Performance Art
Artistic Role(s):
Ceramicist, Filmmaker, Graphic Artist, Installation Artist, Multimedia Artist, Painter, Performance Artist
Conceptual Art, Feminist Art, Other
Artist's Biography:
Ursula Reuter Christiansen was born in Trier, Germany in 1943. Since the 1960s, Reuter Christiansen has been using autobiography and mythological symbolism to fuel her artwork. She was a student of literature at the Philips-Universität in Marburg, Germany until 1965, when she enrolled in Düsseldorf's Academy of Fine Arts to study sculpture with Joseph Beuys. In 1969, Reuter Christiansen moved to Denmark with her husband, Fluxus composer and artist Henning Christiansen.

By 1970, Reuter Christiansen began to focus her work on filmmaking and painting, incorporating influences from the thriving Feminist Art movement in Denmark. She joined the Red Stockings, a group whose objective was to give women a forum to voice their opinions and share experiences but also provided childcare and other educational services.

Reuter Christiansen uses many of her own life experiences as a catalyst for her art linking them with universal symbols of femininity to comment on women's history. In her film,The Executioner (1970), Reuter Christiansen tells the story of a woman whose life is transformed by marriage and childbirth. Though she was highly criticized for her portrayal of the woman as a victim of the traditional patriarchal ideal of femininity, Reuter Christiansen was using her own experiences as a new mother and wife to comment on social realities. Reuter Christiansen's other notable works include: Women Forward (1971), and Three Girls and a Pig (1971), a collaborative effort with Lene Adler Peterson and Elisabeth Terkelsen.

Reuter Christiansen has taught at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, since 1997. She is still actively creating paintings, films, and ceramics. Her recent performances, made in collaboration with her husband, explore the issues of marriage and relationships.

Other Occupation(s):
Activist, Professor
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, Germany (1965-1969) Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany (1964-1965)
Related Visual Artists:
wife of and collaborated with Henning Christiansen mother of Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen student of Joseph Beuys collaborated with Lene Adler Peterson collaborated with Elisabeth Terkelsen
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Danish Pavilion, Forty-ninth Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy (2001)
Earliest exhibition:
Beuysklasse, Städtisches Museum Simeonstift, Trier, Germany (1969)
NMWA exhibition(s):
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution
Artist retrospective(s):
Kast en Brand - Works from 1968-2000, Kunstmuseum, Vejen and Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark (2000)