Vanessa Beecroft: Photographs, Films, Drawings
Essay by Thomas Kellein.
Vanessa Beecroft's performances have been described as art, fashion, brilliant, terrible, evocative, provocative, disturbing, sexist and empowering. The primary material in her work is the live female figure, which remains ephemeral and separate. These women, mainly unclothed, similar, unified through details like hair color, or identical shoes, stand motionless, unapproachable and regimented in the space while viewers watch them. Neither performance nor documentary, Beecroft's live events are recorded through photography and film, but her conceptual approach is actually closer to painting: she makes contemporary versions of the complex figurative compositions that have challenged painters from the Renaissance onwards. Beecroft's more recent work has a slightly more theatrical approach--the uniforms are period clothing, not nudity, and some of her performances include food, while others have featured men in military attire. The artist's provocative tabeaux are accompanied here by the drawings and backstage Polaroids she uses in planning her often-disturbing performances. Includes an extensive interview with Beecroft, which touches on topics informing her work, including men, anorexia, exercise, family, film and beauty.