Allegory of the Painted Woman
In Allegory of the Painted Woman, the artist Alexis Blake confronts the representation of the female body in art history.
The project has spanned over two years and began in 2012 when Blake went to Rome to research and build an archive of female poses found in historic Italian paintings and sculptures – ranging from the time of Renaissance to roughly the start of Modernism.
Blake then used the archive to create a physical choreography in space by piecing together the female poses.
Allegory of the Painted Woman translates the historical artworks into a choreography, and then into a performance, as a way to question notions of movement, representation, reproduction and seriality.
The performance is based on the choreography that studies the transitions, dynamics, direction and spatiality of the poses in motion through the use of varying tempos and rhythms.
As the female figure is illustrating a role in the artworks, so will the artist be playing a role by mimicking and mirroring these gestures and poses.
In doing so, she will be questioning her own body in space and her position as an artist and woman.
The performance deconstructs the female poses, thus de-objectifying them and stripping away their history and context.
It invites viewers to question the role this illustrated figure represents, and to critically examine how this is still presented today through mass media and society.