L A T O I L E T T E
In Memories of Gender : It's Rude to Stare but you're Welcome to See
curated by Isabella Chydenius
Speaking to the ways in which gender is constructed in binary through the objectification of the subject position of 'woman', often within the goddess/whore dichotomy, which simultaneously positions ‘man’ as invisible and omnipotent custodian and creator.
This binary construction can be traced back to the beginnings of western agriculture, through the death of the feudal system which birthed democracy and violently extractive colonial economies. It is echoed in the creation of public/private, nature/culture, body/mind, and human/material. It is inextricably linked to whiteness and the appropriation of land. Cartesian ‘Colonial Man’ as ‘the privileged subject narrator of biopolitical life’ need not see himself reflected. He is unseen and all-seeing, able to project his privileged serenity onto opaque landscapes, and see all that he is not as free of subjectivities, imbued with his sense of space. As comfortable, and idyllic. As possession and territory.
The work aims to be a disruption through hypervisibility of the construct: the position of omnipotent ‘man' made visible in his extreme absence- the absence even of reflection.
The construction of ‘women’, as an available, consumable, aesthetic 'object' is also revealed, but it is transgressive. I chose Olympia, who is a continuation of an artistic trope - the white woman, painted by the man, nude, supine, available. But unlike her for-runners, who’s humanity was hidden through their depiction as goddesses, Olympia is openly a sex worker. Unashamed, naked and looking back to demand remuneration for her gendered labour and tradable position - she is revolutionary.
Photos by Isabella Chydenius
Photos: Isabella Chydenius