Don’t Look Now
Don’t Look Now is a feminist collage made with vintage and contemporary magazines using a simple cut-out juxtaposition of a Saint Laurent advert and a vintage ‘slab of beef’. The collage is a critique of ‘porno-chic’ in modern fashion photography and is a bus-shelter poster that was pasted up guerilla-style on the eve of International Women’s day 2017 along with a full-size billboard of the same photomontage. The work alludes to the post-feminist debate around sexual power and objectification. In the 1980s Helmut Newton took fashion photography to the edge of pornography with his photographs of naked Amazonian women, from which it never really returned. Newton claimed to be a feminist because he said that he loved women and photographed them as powerful, dominant and sexy. However, feminists of the time accused him of cold voyeurism. Julia Andrews-Clifford’s anti-advert billboard was pasted up in March 2017, just weeks after Donald Trump had won the US Election over Hilary Clinton, and political power was questionably denied to her because of her gender. The message of this defeat seemed to undermine the reality of this ‘power’, where sexual power was acceptable in the media, but no true political power. Therefore, the debate continues: the model is ‘on the slab’ yet powerful, objectified yet with agency, ‘looked at’ yet looking, has a ‘to be looked-at-ness’ and is the bearer of the look. The model’s confrontational look very clearly returns ‘the gaze’ and is reminiscent of the direct address of Manet’s Olympia, another nude with attitude – and yet this series of adverts represent apparently empowered and sexually confident women yet doggedly continue to fix the sexist stereotype of woman = body.
Julia Andrews-Clifford pasted up this anti-advert on the eve of International Women’s Day 2017 as a comment on today’s ‘porno-chic’ advertising. Motivated to make the piece after researching contemporary advertising and being surprised by the prevalence of pornographic poses and postures in women’s magazines, particularly the most recent and notorious Saint Laurent campaign. This is a limited edition bus shelter size poster of 1/10 printed, taken from an original photomontage and signed by the artist. This cut and paste mixed media is signed by Julia Andrews-Clifford and is part of the Cut collection’ (2017).