Uneasy bodies,femininity and death

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Representing the female corpse in fashion photography and selected contemporary artworks

Drawing on the book of Elizabeth Bronfen: "Over her dead body: Death, femininity and the aesthetic" (1992) and the fashion photographs of Guy Bourdin, this book delves into the rise in depictions of the female corpse as beautiful and contained in fashion photographs and argues that such depictions constructs disturbing and deeply coded links between femininity, patriarchy and death.

The argument further explores the dead feminine body “as an object of sight” and fetish where the male spectator, becomes the active possessor of the passive feminine body (Bronfen 1992:xiii).

Furthermore, the work of feminist artists such as Marlene Dumas and Penny Siopis who depict female death in their work are explored to comment on and question such patriarchal ideologies.

The goal being the subvertion of these practices by confronting the viewer with a sense of abjection and the grotesque in their work.

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