Images of Men
2004-2006, C-Print

Unlike images of men, images of women have for a long time been at the centre of feminist critique of representation: whereas until now the male portrait has remained more or less untouched by theory, the traditional ways of visually representing women have been reflected by artists and theoreticians, who have exposed the connection between body and representation, stated the constructedness of reality and confronted the prevalent system of representation with their own images of women. In her series “Images of Men”, Viktoria Tremmel enters uncharted territories insofar as she presents the male body, too, as an object and a projection screen. Her large-scale photographs are theatrical stagings of social spaces and relations in which the artist has photographed herself with a series of naked men. Through the use of a few, symbolically loaded props such as apples or lilies, the perspective on the male body is encoded differently each time; furthermore, mirror constructions open up multidimensional layers of reflection that remind one inevitably of feminist theories of the gaze. The subject-object-relation thus established is extended in that both the artist and the model are looking into the camera. In this way, the artist includes the perspective of the viewer, exploring the process of reception as an act that on the one hand is socially and culturally determined, yet which on the other hand is also eminently political and thus needs to be reflected. While the presentation of naked men may trigger off in the viewer associations of the traditional female nude, a closer look will reveal that this is not simply about role reversal, but rather about the fundamental complication of representing sexuality.

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