Woman as parts

The female gaze is somewhat of a recurring subject in Scheurweghs her work. It’s a term used to counter ‘the male gaze’ that was coined by film critic Laura Mulvey in 1975. The male gaze in both film and photography is always looking, while the female body is always being looked at. The gaze can come from several viewpoints: the audience, from a male character in the film or from the camera itself, but it is always sexually loaded and voyeuristic.
A genre where this male gaze is ultimately present is in porn. The vast majority of heterosexual porn is made with the male viewer in mind. The camera shots often mimic the point of view of the male actor. We watch from above as the female gives oral sex. We fixate on her facial expressions during sexual acts. Even when the female is receiving oral pleasure, the camera is often positioned from the man’s perspective looking up at her. Generally speaking, the male actor in porn is insignificant. Rarely is the focus his full body or do we see his face. The real protagonist in these stories is the viewer. That’s why the female turns away from the male actor, looking toward the camera instead.
Scheurweghs thinks that in both art and porn there still is a big focus on the male gaze. The vast majority or artist, photographers and directors that get recognition are men, so she believes there is need for a counter view that comes from the female way of looking at things. In Scheurweghs her work this done by recycling the male view into something new. For this work she uses found porn images and reframes them as to cut out the sexual performance that is given ons screen. What remains is the female body as parts. A metaphor for how woman are viewed in this society according to Scheurweghs. Always as a part ( you are either a mother or a sex bomb or an artist, one can not be all, and especially not all at once), never a whole being.

Julie Scheurweghs (1988) living and working in Brussels, has had a love for the photographic image from when she was a little girl. After getting a Masters degree in LUCA school of arts in 2010, she went on to teach there for 3 years. After her first Solo Exhibition called ‘Accidentally on purpose’ in Amsterdam in 2012 she quickly made her Belgian solo debut in Knokke and has had numerous solo and group shows since. Scheurweghs’s work is centred around womanhood : what it means to be a woman in this world, motherhood, intimate familie life, the female view. Within these themes Scheurweghs has a fascination with the everyday, often dismissed as mundane. By shifting focus of changing the context, Scheurweghs is able to show a beauty that would otherwise go unseen.
Apart from being a photographer, Julie Scheurweghs is also an avid collector of photographs, both old and new, that have been discarded or even labeled trash. In her work, Scheurweghs uses these decaying images, disconnected from their original owners, as a medium to provide an intimate look into the personal lives of strangers and as a powerful metaphor for the ephemerality of human life.
For Scheurweghs, the beauty in photography is not about framing the object, but in providing the context for the observer to frame his own memories and emotions.

Copyright © Julie Scheurweghs, all rights reserved

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