┐ roots & fruits #7 – Inês Beja └

© Inês Beja, The Roaring

© Inês Beja, Untitled #3, from the series Jumping at Shadows

Inês is a chameleon or, as she puts it, a shape-shifter. From my point of view what she is now is a creative force: obsessive, eager to learn, aiming for the perfect tool, the perfect dress, the perfect light, the perfect shot. I believe these are arguments enough to keep an eye on her and see where all this passion (borderline destructive force?) can take her.

Her work made me think of a written piece of work, so instead of dragging on parallels between her work and that of self-portrayed women in the history of photography, here it is:

“(…)The initial idea that images contributed to women’s alienation from their bodies and from their sexuality, with an attendant hope of liberation and recuperation, gave way to theories of representation as symptom and signifier of the way problems posed by sexual difference under patriarchy could be displaced onto the feminine.(…)and while feminist critics turned to popular culture to analyse these meanings, artists turned to theory, juxtaposing images and ideas, to negate dominant meanings and,slowly and polemically, to invent different ones.

(…)The juxtaposition begins to refer to a ‘surface-ness’, so that nostalgia begins to dissolve into unease.An overinsistence on surface starts to suggest that it might be masking something or other that should be hidden from sight, and a hint of another space starts to lurk inside a too plausible facade.(…)The sense of surface now resides, not in the female figure’s attempt to save her face in a masquerade of femininity, but in the model’s subordination to, and imbrication with, the texture of the photographic medium itself.

(…)For Freud, fetishism is particularly significant (apart, that is, from his view that it ‘confirmed the castration complex’) as a demonstration that the psyche can sustain incompatible ideas, at one and the same time,through a process of disavowal. Fetishistic disavowal acknowledges the possibility of castration (represented by the female, penis-less, genital)and simultaneously denies it. Freud saw the coexistence of these two contradictory ideas, maintained in a single psyche, as a model for the ego’s relation to reality: the ‘splitting of the ego’, which allowed two parallel, but opposed, attitudes to be maintained in uneasy balance.(…) This ‘oscillation effect’ is important to postmodernism. The viewer looks, recognizes a style, doubts, does a double take, then recognizes that the style is a citation, and meanings shift and change their reference like shifting perceptions of perspective from an optical illusion.

excerpt from Laura Mulvey’s article A Phantasmagoria of the Female Body: The Work of Cindy Sherman

Inês’s portraits can be seen here

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