“Paris Hilton – Portrait of a Nude Woman” (Digital Paintings, 2010)

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Part of a series of works superimposing still images from Paris Hilton’s ‘bath’ video (which has commonly been labelled a ‘sex tape’) over top of classical paintings of women bathing. See more from this series.

“The thrust of [John] Berger’s argument is that the artistic nude is no different from the soft porn nude, existing to fulfil male voyeurism and desire for possession. He argues that all but a few of the hundreds of thousands of nudes in European painting were designed to appeal to sexuality of the man looking at the picture. The sexuality of the woman, he says, ‘needs to be minimized so that the spectator may feel that he has the monopoly of such passion. Women are there to feed an appetite, not to have any of their own… You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, you put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting Vanity, thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure’.” (John Robinson, The Judgment of Paris)

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^ 5 Comments...

  1. Uncanny

    “It is here that the glamour tradition in all its manifestations may be seen to occupy a place dangerously close to another tradition of representation of women, from myth to fairytale to high art to pornography, in which they are stripped of will and autonomy. Woman is dehumanised by being represented as a kind of automaton, a ‘living doll: (The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, L’ Histoire d’ O), ‘She’s a real doll!” ~ The Power of the Image: Essays on Representation and Sexuality. by Annette Kuhn

  2. Uncanny

    Forgot to add my preface. There is nothing wrong with the nude human figure, it is the way culture has contextualized the female form. The body is overwritten with meaning, some of which is completely rejected by the female subject.

  3. Art Dick

    Thankyou so much for your comments. I agree that the naked body is not a problem – of course – but that the treatment of the ‘nude’ in art and its relation to systems of power can be disempowering. Although, something I was interested in dealing with here is Paris Hilton’s role in appropriating the nude form (particularly in her video works) and how this complicates the issue. She is clearly the author of these images, and is complicit in their creation – I don’t think we can say that she is in the same position in terms of being exploited by the nude. In fact – the bath video is particularly illuminating in terms of her performance. For instance, in the beginning a man holding the camera asks her “So, what’s gonna happen in the latest Paris Hilton sex tape,” and she says “Nothing.” The rest of the discussion is about how he would feel ripped off if he had of brought the tape. “This is the worst Paris Hilton sex tape ever,” he says, and she replies “GOOD.” It is worth a watch, in terms of her authorship and the self-reflexive discussion about the idea of a sex tape: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3ogv1_paris-hilton-full-bath-new-sex-tape_sexy

  4. Crescent

    Interesting work :-)

  5. Art Dick

    Thanks Crescent. And thanks for stopping by.

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