Baroque Mann

During my 2024 residency at PILOTENKUECHE in Leipzig, Germany, our curators organized the exhibition windy HOME, where I contributed the diptych ‘Baroque Mann’ in an attempt to link personal and cultural experiences, and manipulate the concept of private and public.

For millennia, male artists have been the dictators and documentors of beauty ideals. Historically, male subjects were often depicted as gods, heroes, and archetypes of physical and spiritual perfection – and female subjects as nymphs, temptresses or vessels of purity and chastity. In Caravaggio’s classical Baroque depiction of his ‘companion’ Mario Minniti, titled Boy with a Basket of Fruit, he defines soft features and dramatic lighting on his subject, most likely conveying the master’s own personal affection. The results can be considered a Renaissance ideal of male beauty. 

In my contemporary counterpart, I confront not only how beauty ideals have evolved over the centuries, but that I can dictate it through the lens of an oppositional (female) gaze. Using a typical selfie from a dating app that includes unflattering angles, poor lighting and heavy frowns, I emphasize the shift between historical and modern depictions of masculinity. This approach not only shows my personal perspective as a woman who navigates our often alienating modern wold, but asks the question of how men see themselves when asked to put their best faces forward. Is what they are seeing the same as what I see?

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