Sunday, 28 December 2008


The idea of this research came with different things happening : finding out about Rebecca's passion for fashion and crazy dressing up and the sense of sexual freedom/discovery that comes with it, loving Phil Sayers's work "Changing Places" seen in Leeds (, starting to think a lot about feminism and what it means now days and trying to make my mind about all that ... in order to know better what it means for me (and in the art world/contemporary world), as a female artist, to show myself in my artwork ... Along all this came the subject I choose for an essay about 3 pieces of work from 3 different artists : Jenny Saville, Vanessa Beecroft and Pipilotti Rist.

I really want to know more about what interests Rebecca in the fashion world.

I first had that old-fashion feminist view about women posing for advertising and this included fashion magazines : that these women and advertisements were just using them as objects/sexual objects, as usually ... But I think that fashion magazines are mainly for women so there must be more than that simplistic view ... I also remember reading a French writer saying that if women spend so much time worrying about their appearance and looking for the right clothes and accessories, they are wrong to think that they're doing it for men because men (in general ... not ALL of them) don't really pay attention to details but rather look at the overall impression (this is a psychological difference). So she was saying that we (women) are the ones we dress for ... and I think this is very much true : most of the time, compliments about details we have worked at come from women rather than men ... Would that mean that all women have homosexual tendencies ?
Now, starting to question Rebecca and looking at how these images are built, I am getting another understanding of the whole thing and I know I would learn a lot by making such a kind of images myself. What would come out of the fact that we are not models and don't have 20 people (for clothes, make up, lights, photo ...) working at the making of the images ?
What kind of images can we produce by getting inspiration from fashion magazines ?
Shall we really stick to this idea of fashion or are we going to produce our own "ideal" images of women posing for a camera in "nice clothes" (or crazy clothes) ?

There is also this idea I came accross and which is new to me : that sexuality (understood in a broad sense) cannot be defined as simply as before, partly because of homosexual people having their say (in theorical research, for example, which came along with all the different feminist movements) and just because of how things are, nowdays. The boundaries are being blurred ... and this goes in the same direction than my previous question : "Do all women have homosexual tendencies because they enjoy looking at each others appearances ?".
I am interested to see what would come out in the making of "fashion" images made by women.

One main key or personal mystery resides for me in my self-portraits with mirrors. There is something there that I need to explore and using other models than myself may be a good way to find out ...
What interests me in the building of images would be : the body language, the relation between the model and the camera/photographer ... something of the psychological side of it. I would not go for the direct sexual allusions but rather for an eroticly-crafted composition.

It's quite interesting to note than when Vanessa Beecroft directs her performances, she's got a purist idea of an ideal image for the women : she talks about icons ... but the models never appear the way she wants .. something of the "life", of the flesh, comes out and "spoils" the perfection... certainly because they are moving and alive models and it is a performance, not a fashion shot. It is "live".

VB 55
Vanessa Beecroft

Jenny Saville directly denounces the pressure that this same perfection puts on women. In a sense, I think that her work doesn't go as far as Vanessa Beecroft's or Pipilotti Rist's : we know very well how much pressure is put on us (women) for being that ideal body/image. We are the ones going on dieting and always complaining about being fat ... we are the ones looking at fashion magazines ... We are caught in it and we are aware of it. So Jenny Saville, for me, doesn't go very far in that work. She doesn't disturb me as much as Vanessa Beecroft.

Jenny Saville

Pipilotti Rist's video installations are my favourite ... this is more my idea of the ideal woman : she knows how to "look good" with no ostentation while at the same time keeping her freedom and distance from male gaze. She plays perfectly with the visual pleasure.

I'm quite aware that she already looks good herself but I believe that any woman who knows herself and her body well can always make herself "look good". I had this said to me from a man : that the make-up, accessories and all the rest shouldn't be given to women because they already look beautiful but it should be given to men who are a bit rough and hairy with not very much choice in their clothes ... :)

Pipilotti Rist

"Sip my ocean"

but "Pickelporno is very good too :



I've chosen some of the most recent ones ...
It's funny how they look completely different to me, now that I have started to work at this "fashion magazines" project ! Now I can see some kind of style in them ... it is very difficult to step out of your own work, especially this one which is about self-portrait. Most of these images have never been shown, I have kept taking them for years but still don't know what they really are. In the present project, they can be samples of the styles, atmospheres, poses,colours, introspective states that I like or that are my own style.
I think houses can be very good settings for shots ...

I think that these images reflect very much my way of working : they are very spontaneous, quickly made and pretty rough and natural. I took them because the light or the colours or my mood inspired me at that moment ... but they are very consciously taken as I have most of the time the full control over my image with the mirror reflection. So the pose is "constructed".

Another best one, for other reasons (from Rebecca's choices)

I find this one completely crazy. I think it is a perfect example of nowdays advertisings where you get completely lost in the meanings : they've added so many layers of references and levels of understanding that nobody can get it anymore .... Proper contemporary art !:)
I just love the clothes and how the model looks dumb, stoned or whatever : as if she's some kind of spirit of the tree that has just fallen out of it ...
And the close up bubbles are crazy too like made by a drunk person : they just don't make sense because they are not focusing on what they should !
So I love this one too ...

Playing with the camera / the viewer (from Rebecca's choices)

This style (how theey act) is far to be my favourite, unless pushed to its limits and turned into derision or caricature ...

My personaly favourite style (from Rebecca's choices)

I love the unusual settings and the fact that there are other people around. The colours are subtle and well-balanced (the scanning has lost it here, sorry). She is posing posing but still looking very natural, close to herself. She is not "over beautiful" but still very sensual. There is such an harmony between her clothes/their colour and the surroundings.
I just love those shootings ....

My favourite over all ... because of the multiple frames, the round shape and the fact that she is photographed from behind the glass and also looks like she's lost in her thoughts ....

Friday, 26 December 2008



"Vogue Divine"

"Vogue Divine : a collaboration with poet Philip Davenport, images were produced in response to 7 of his Vogue Divine poems, adopting the style and visual syntax of advertising and fashion magazines.They were produced in two formats - AO size, bill-posted around Manchester for the Poetry Festival, and also published as an A6 postcard set."

"Changing Places"