Vanessa Beecroft

VB 31 Performance, 1998

C-print, 102 x 151 cm
Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur
Inv. no. 1999-002-002
© Vanessa Beecroft

Vanessa Beecroft
b. 1969 (Genova, IT), lives and works in New York, US
VB 35 Performance: Institute of Contemporary Art - MassachusettesVanessa Beecroft’s performances, which she sometimes calls Show, clearly indicate her intent: she puts women on show, undressing a group of women and dressing them anew, uniformly and scantily, but to a carefully considered design, then presenting them to an audience in an art venue. There are obvious affinities here with historic tableaux vivants as well as with contemporary fashion catwalk shows and with theatrical rehearsals. The effect is bizarre and unsettling, heightened by the scanty clothing that suggests nudity or frames and accentuates it. Yet the situations she stages, for all their seemingly blatant eroticism and sexuality, are extremely unemotional. The women stand like strange creatures, frozen sculptures, mannequins, staring ahead with a gaze that is firm, clear and sometimes bored, looking right through the audience, including the male viewers, as though they were not there. It is as if they come from another world that has no connection whatsoever with the one on show. Beecroft cleverly doubles, multiplies and clones the female figures, emphasizing their object-like aspects in a blend of beauty and intangibility that makes them seem utterly alien.