On this blog you will find still now and then a new piece of art work from a series called “The Fashion Victim Stories”.
They are identical in their measures (40 cm x 40 cm), their material (watercolors on thick paper) and they have one other thing in common: they show a scene out of a glossy fashion magazine. And they change the way you look at such a scene.
Besides they are all quite colorful.
And of course you can purchase them, as long nobody else is quicker and gets your favorite one first.
But the point is not to sell them (in first place), but to show them to you and everybody else.
This is about art. Sure. But it´s also about critical reflection. In my opinion, art is the finger to put in the wounds of society. It sure can be. (Art also can heal wounds. I highly recommend this kind of art, too.)
In this case, the wound illustrates the darker side of fashion.
The watercolors are a wonderful technique to achieve the transformation from an advertising photography into a completely different dimension:
Where the photography shows the smooth surface of idealization, the painted equivalent melts away the perfect shapes; it develops stains and blemishes rather than flawless beauty.
Suddenly the dreamworld of the glossy magazines is replaced by a strange kind of reality; in a subtle way the perception changes, different emotions and questions are roused in the viewer.
Suddenly it´s not any more about: “Buy beauty!” Suddenly, there occur stories about human individuals. Uneasy and emotional stories. And often very weird stories about very lonesome young women, as soon as you take away the glamour of the motive.
Working with watercolors is a great way to play with the visual habits of the viewer and break them.
In its traditional role, a piece of watercolor art is no more than either a kitschy flower picture, or even a children´s motive.
(Of course that´s so not true! There are highly gifted artists who create incredible beautiful images with watercolours. But still not everbody knows this. How often did I had to listen to something like: “Why don´t you do oil on canvas? That´s real art!” But this is a completely different chapter…)
It is gaudy, it is nice, it is harmless – and, in this case, on the second glance, it is not. It is –surprise- full of multilayered awkwardness. Without losing its original aesthetics. I choose subtle tactics to unsettle you. Beauty can be sad. Colorful can be lonely. Pretty girls can be disturbed.
Being painted in squares intensifies the discomfort. A square is not a nice format. It imprisons its content. You won´t find quadratic paintings very often for a reason.
You should know, by the way, that I don´t damn fashion in general.
We need clothes, because we don´t have fur and society says being naked in everyday life is evil. (Of course it´s allowed in sexual context and for selling stuff). And many of us couldn´t be naked in everyday life, even if we wanted to, because it´s too bloody cold.
So, fashion should be a great invention; it helps us not only to be warm and comfy and socially compatible, it also allows us to express ourselves in the way we dress.
Clothes are a way to feel individual, to fit in a certain social group or to show that we don´t intend to fit in anywhere. Clothes are always a part of who we are to everybody else. It´s a fact, either you like it or not.
So why shouldn´t we want to look good?
Fashion can be gorgeous. Some Fashion Designers are gifted artists. The most amazing Haute Couture pieces are these, which you never would be able to wear in the real world. Really! There´s absolutely nothing wrong with extraordinary, crazy creations of the true artists under the designers. I love their creative, inventive spirit.
But there´s awfully lot wrong in the fashion world. Especially in the world of fashion photography. Highly retouched pictures of extremely dieted young girls who pretend to be the reality of what a woman should be and look like. Manipulated pictures that shall get us to hate ourselves and therefore spend loads of money for expensive beauty products, plastic surgery and so on…
Ladies, you know what I mean. Gentleman, you do of course, too.
And because you are sophisticated and know about these kind of social deficiency, I don´t have to talk more about it.
I just show you these little Fashion Victim Stories. Enjoy.