Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Life-size nude statues of Emma Watson are displayed at Berlin's Galerie Guido W. Baudach

[Gallery] [Version fran├žaise]

The artist is Yves Scherer.

Each Emma statue is suited to a slightly different taker. One is pristinely white, save for a scribbled signature. Another is lightly splattered with pink paint, wears stockings, and has its face made up to look like an anime character. A pale pink statue's nightgown appears to have just slipped off its shoulder, the floor around it marked numerous times with “#heforshe," the hashtag for Watson's recently-launched campaign for UN Women. A copper-covered Emma has been crated, the boxes interior padded with sound dampening foam and a fan installed on its side as if the shipper was worried she might expire without fresh air. A fifth sculpture, also copper or bronze, stands in a lily pond outside the curtain that's meant to form the door to Scherer's created-home in pure bourgeois fashion, despite the pond having been created with cheap, utilitarian carpet.

It would take a rather astute Watson aficionado to immediately recognize that the sculptures depict the actress. In strict terms, they don't. To create them, Scherer scoured the web, pulling hundreds of recent images of the actress—a partial archive of the photos has replaced the gallery's website for the duration of the show—to create a three-dimensional digital model of her based on an “average" of those images that could then be brought to life using a 3D printer.

The works' jumping off points are numerous. It's as good a critique of Google and Facebook's averaging effect on what was once a utopian vision of an infinitely diverse internet, as it is a takedown of our weirdly-intimate relationships with celebrity, with Instagram delivering a by-the-minute diary of famous strangers' private lives (the classic paparazzi photos on the wall recall just how distant that relationship used to be only ten years ago.)

If the exhibition could be misread, it would be as a direct commentary on female exploitation and objectification. Its press materials make passing reference to the trolls who threatened to expose nude photos of Watson following the HeForShe announcement. And though, of course, that context is unable to be excluded from any analysis of the show now, the sculptures were started long before—one was shown at Art Berlin Contemporary, which took place the week before the initiative's launch.

Like the tatami mats, the choice of Emma Watson was, if I had to guess, one based on the artist's personal taste and perhaps the fact that, more than most entertainment notables, there's nothing particularly bad or even controversial that one can say about the 24-year-old actress-cum-model. But there are others who could have taken her place—men too.

Apparently the artist met Emma:

Other pictures from the galerie:

Source via Pottershots

The artist's interview about it:

How did you make it? And WHY Emma Watson!?

First of all I think she’s the most Googled person on the planet at the moment and in London she’s everybody’s darling. Everybody grew up with her. The technicians I worked with to make this were so into her - I mean it’s also a sexual thing. Exactly because everybody saw her growing up, everybody has got this weird connection to her. If you Google ‘Emma Watson naked’, or ‘nude’, you get like five million hits. Everybody sticks her head on everything: her giving fifteen blowjobs, anything you could ever imagine, with Emma Watson's head. I basically just wanted to do the same thing. To put her head on a naked body, but make it more sophisticated. Make it a physical thing - or everybody’s Emma. I wanted to make her in a warm material: it’s much more love in wood than foam or something. In this creepy way you wouldn’t want your Emma in cold foam or plastic, this wood is like flesh: it looks like flesh, it feels like flesh. It lives. She’s 165 cm, that’s actually her size and that was also the limit I could do in one piece.

What’s the necklace?

Well I kind of followed her on Twitter...

Haha, you’re such a stalker!

Well, the garage was kind of meant to be the house of some, maybe not pervy, but some sort of stalker... or it’s playing on the possibility of stalking. Having Emma outside of this machine and in this space, I wanted to make her a present, I guess. She likes hedgehogs, so I made this hedgehog necklace for her. A hedgehog family.

What’s happening in here?

I used to do a lot of Perspex work and I often used them as devices - like how your iPhone or iPad is a device. This second room uses that same idea but as a wall work. It’s a play on this device thing, like you are behind the window to the other world. It is worked on as if it was used and then I’ve written a letter to Emma Watson on it: it’s called "More than distance between us". The written letter is a physical version of a typed email. The medium of computer text is very limited - if I could send flowers it would say so much more than an emoticon and that’s the handwriting and the flowers stuck to it: it’s playing on this shift between the physical and the virtual again. It is a flexible concept - it could take a million different shapes. This piece is sort of the same as the Skype image of my girlfriend: they are different manifestations of the same idea. What I am interested in is the idea of what you want the work to do in the space. It isn’t really about the text anymore, but a sculpture: I wrote this letter, and things on Perspex boxes previously - it’s just a text at first, and then it can become a physical work. That’s probably the nature of text. What the text represent physically, or what you read out of the text - I don’t really know where my interest actually is. On the boxes in previous shows nobody could really read the text, but it became something different. I really like what it became. But then I also really like the texts.

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