“What we think of women working the field of sex is related to our idea of what a “good woman” is – and that in turn affects us all.”
– Researcher Niina Vuolajärvi, Rutgers University, New York City, The U.S.
“Réalisme” is an ongoing project (2019-) that combines elements from photography, participatory art and cultural criticism. I have created contemporary versions of Manet’s “Olympia” (1863) and “Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe” (1863) , Henri Gervex’s “Rolla” (1878) and Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s “Demasque” (1888). There are few things that these oil paintings have in common: First they are painted by male artists and second the women modeling for the artists have been prostitutes or have been categorized as one because of the nudity.
In this project I wanted to raise questions about objectification and power dynamics in the model-artist relationship, quality of estrangement of historical art pieces and stereotypical roles of women in the art historical canon as well as the misconceptions about the sex work in general. Last but the not the least I have been compelled about the idea of art as prostitution that was initially introduced by art critic Charles Baudelaire.