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Female Gaze Friday: Chiara Goia

Representations of the male figure in art are far less common than works depicting women. A long history of straight men dominating the art world has led to many images of winsome women, but fewer of beautiful men (I’ve written on this subject before; if you’d like to read more about the lack of male figures in art check it out here).

Every Female Gaze Friday I will post a woman-created work of art depicting a man—one small act to reverse the male gaze! Not all images will be provocative, many will be nonsexual or even disturbing. Hopefully this will be a way of learning more about women artists (as well as looking at dudes)!

This week we’ll look at the series, Sculptors Village by photographer Chiara Goia:

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

Chiara Goia, Sculptors Village, photograph

In Sculptors Village, photographer Chiara Goia depicts Dongcheng workers creating reproductions of world famous sculptures. Dongcheng is a small Chinese village in which many inhabitants are employed in this business of creating “fakes”.

Goia’s photography juxtaposes the workers with the marble sculptures; living people frequently blend into the scene due to the white dust covering their clothing. Her work explores the question of what exactly makes someone an artist. These near perfect replicas are cut and carved to perfection, yet the workers physically creating the sculptures are not considered artists in their own right.

Interestingly enough, sculptors have long had their workshops create marble copies of original works conceptualized by the head artist in clay. It was a common practice in the 1800s, for example, with artists like Harriet Hosmer and Hiram Powers employing assistants to do the actual stone carving.

The men in this series are statuesque and presented as Davids in their own right.

You can see more of Goia’s work here. Check back on Fridays for more images of men by women. And feel free to suggest works of art or artists in the comments!

Take a look at our previous Female Gaze Friday: the Familiar Men series by Laurie Toby Edison.

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