How we perceive the human body and shape stereotypes about physical beauty through personal, artistic and social experience: two female artists reflect on these issues, using a variety of techniques.
Kiki Smith (b. 1954) is a German-born, American-based artist, in the 1970s one of the leading figures of New York's Colab (Collaborative Projects) group, who questioned the most crucial political issues through various media. In her forty-year-long practice, she has investigated the human body, its functions, physical beauty and impairments, as well as the common social assumptions thereof. Smith works with painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, public art, and text.
Annette Messager (b. 1943)’s project for the French pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale won her the Golden Lion award in 2005. Her voluminous installations usually incorporate photographs, taxidermic animals, dolls and pieces reminiscent of human organs or fantastic creatures. They may be attached to walls, hang from the ceiling, or lie on the floor in various positions. Messager’s imagery draws on Surrealism, articulating her unconsciousness fantasies, psychotraumas and dreams. Despite their eccentric forms, the ordinary objects and simple materials in her works refer to the mundanity of the world we live in.