WOMEN IMMEASURABLY PREFERABLE
Women deeply involved in politics, women activists hailing mainly from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Women engaged in left-leaning feminist politics, women encompassing both parliamentary and non-parliamentary roles within their countries. Thirty visible, female fighters, spanning in age from 25 to over 60, are captured in their clothing, embodying their dynamic presence, on the setting of a bed.
In a political landscape flooded with suits and dominated by male figures, amidst a complete visual saturation in the media—comprising images, videos, and speeches of men engaged in politics who often view women merely as “objects of desire” whose place is in their beds—this is the striking backdrop against which the photographer positioned these women. There, they went through a process that involved three successive stages.
The purpose of this project is to observe and acquaint ourselves with the diverse faces of women, particularly those engaged in politics. In a social context where we have unnaturally grown accustomed to an overwhelming number of images of male politicians holding prominent positions in decision-making, the photographer aimed to craft an exhibition, an album, and a pathway for the viewers, exclusively featuring portraits of women. These women engage with the audience and are placed in a comfortable setting where they can be their authentic selves. From this position, we listen to them express, using a few words, what the word WOMAN means to them.
Each woman was individually invited to employ the ‘automatic writing’ method, inspired by the Surrealist movement. They were asked to write the first unfiltered words that spontaneously came to their minds when presented with the word: WOMAN. The results yielded really interesting words, like WORK, which several women expressed, but especially the words STRONG and STRENGTH which more than half of the women wrote.
Each woman was photographed from the moment she stepped into a small photo booth, where a large (2m x 3m) photograph of a vulva was placed in front of her.
The photo they saw was from her work: “So Quiet, The Performativity of a Pussy”
The questions asked by the photographer were the following four:
- What do you see in this picture?
Only two women said they saw a forest, all others used their native language’s equivalents of “vulva” and employed English words like “pussy,” “vulva,” and “vagina.”
- How do you feel in such a confined space, confronted with such an “intimate” image?
The women who were heterosexual expressed feelings of comfort and intimacy, while those who were homosexual exhibited excitement like that of a child receiving a cherished toy, sporting playful expressions.
- How does society “treat” the vulva?
In response to this question, all the women underwent a dramatic change in mood, shifting to a darker, more intense demeanor, expressing feelings of anger, wildness, and upset.
- Make a hand gesture that conveys the “dynamic” of the vulva.
The hand gestures they made were wonderfully inventive.
Final Portrait. Each woman was invited to pose on a single hotel bed with white sheets. Any position she would define as comfortable.
THE PROJECT IS DEDICATED TO ARTIST Claude Cahun (1894 – 1954)
Claude Cahun was a Jewish-French photographer and writer associated with the Surrealist movement. Her work deals strongly with gender identity and she is considered one of the pioneers of graphic art. The title of the project is inspired by Claude Cahun’s quote “Realities disguised as symbols are, for me, new realities that are immeasurably preferable.”
The project Women: immeasurably preferable is a continuation of her artistic work: