MIMÉTISME RELATIF - Femme avec bottes et lampadaire, 1973-1976

RELATIVE MIMICRY - Woman in Boots and Floor Lamp, 1973-1976
Collage, Díptic. 2 collage de 30 x 36 x 3 cm c/u

In the context of the feminist and Pop art movements of the late 1960s and early seventies, Dorothée Selz produced the series Mimétisme relatif in 1973. Both humorous and critical, the series addresses the image of the seductive woman as found in fashion magazines and calendars, as well as works by Pop artists such as Allen Jones. Selz produces diptychs using a photograph of a model from an advertisement and another of the artist herself imitating or reproducing the model’s pose. Then she mounts the photographs in a cement frame decorated with brightly coloured acrylic paint applied using implements for icing cakes. As if they were sugar or coloured sweets, pin-ups of women are displayed as visual objects to be consumed.

The artist questions the examples of female identity in consumer society and the idea of desire. The combination of the role of the model and the artist emphasises the artificiality of the pin-up image as presented by the media. ‘At a time when feminist movements were denouncing and rejecting the idealisation and objectification of women’s bodies as conveyed by magazines, Selz’s re-appropriation of popular imagery stages the ambiguous desire to both reject and resemble those icons.’ (Elsa Coustou: Dorothée Selz. London: Tate Gallery, September 2015)

The artist explained the genesis of the work during her participation in The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern, London, in 2015, referring to the ambivalence of the seductive female model for women. If, on the one hand, they refuse the imposed model, on the other they want to look like her. ‘From 1960 to 1975 the woman was depicted in popular imagery (calendars) or sophisticated imagery (Playboy magazine or Allen Jones’s works) as a seducer, femme fatale or pseudo prostitute. Or, on the other hand, as a housewife or mother of a family. These two clichés were the most common: mother or femme fatale. I thought that women were in an ambiguous position, between the secret desire to resemble the “sexy female models” and the rejection of these models. It is in this spirit that I conceived this series where I staged myself as a model, by highlighting with humour the ambivalence of the female image in sexy pictures.’ (Dorothée Selz interviewed in September 2015. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/ey-exhibition-world-goes-pop/artist-interview/dorothee-selz. All the quotations reproduced come from this interview.)

Technical details

Original title:
MIMÉTISME RELATIF - Femme avec bottes et lampadaire
Registration number:
Selz, Dorothée
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Object type:
Gelatin silver print and mortar on wood
Díptic. 2 collage de 30 x 36 x 3 cm c/u (height x width x depth)
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
© Dorothée Selz, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

Accessibility resources
Tactile reproductions

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