‘Expectations’ is a digital art piece, representing the state of gender in the workplace.
It was inspired by the following quote in the episode, “Women are expected to be more polished to be taken more seriously. Like if I showed up to work 100% disheveled, then I’ know i won’t be taken seriously. But if I’m too groomed and look too good then that makes you seem ditzy and incompetent. So you have to make sure that you’re presenting yourself in all the right ways.”
There are two important aspects in ‘Expectations’; the color and the shapes. The choice of colors is an obvious representation of gender. The shapes signify how men are allowed and accepted in different forms regardless of their ‘edges’, whereas women are expected to be perfect, like a circle. No edges, complete, formidable but non-threatening.
In case you missed it last week, we’ve started a collaboration with Hellay Studios for this season of BTB. You can (and should) follow them right here!
For this week’s piece, here’s an explanation from the artist:
ApolloGs, is a collage art piece made from The Apollo Belvedere (c. AD 120 – 140) which is a Roman copy of the original Greek sculpture by Leochares, and stock photos of american dollar bills and a rope found on unsplash.com.
In the episode there was a theme of ‘the cosmetic industry profiting off of making people feel ugly.’ This art piece focuses primarily on this theme.
Apollo is the Greek god of the sun and epitomizes the idea of male beauty. His sculpture represents aesthetic perfection and was considered the ideal in ancient greek society.
In the background, American dollar bills can be seen ‘raining down’ and Apollo is seen holding a rope. The artwork personifies the cosmetics industry as The Apollo Belvedere, a marble sculpture of the god of beauty whose size is much larger than that of an average man, and acts as a metaphor for the enormity and power of the cosmetics industry. Apollo holds a rope which acts as a leash by which consumers are exploited into conforming to a superficial ideal all the while endorsing consumerist behaviur that brings in large profits for the industry.
Gold Standard, is a collage art piece made from The Birth of Venus (1480s) by Sandro Botticelli, and a stock photo of mannequins found on unsplash.com.
In the episode, there was a theme of ‘difference in beauty standards’ around the world and cultures. This art piece was created on the aforementioned theme.
In Roman Mythology, Venus is the goddess of beauty and fertility. In the original painting, she is emerging from the sea, fully formed and ‘beautiful’, being flanked and revered by other godly beings on her either side. It can be perceived that Botticelli was concerned about creating a moment of beauty that ought to live on forever, and it has.
In stark contrast, the mannequin holds no divine status. In the original photograph, it is not clear at all why they (there were multiple mannequins) were placed where they were.
One may guess they were drying after being spray painted, or just waiting for someone to put clothes on them. It is also almost impossible to know who created these mannequins: were they hand carved by a person, or mass produced in a factory? Regardless, they are not fully formed, they are only functional.
Juxtaposing Venus and the mannequin was a bold action, inspired by ‘difference in beauty standards’. Aesthetic vs. functional, timeless vs. discardable, revered vs. unnoticed, conceptual vs. tangible, ancient vs. contemporary.
However, the aspect that allowed both Venus and the mannequin to be juxtaposed is that they are both used as standards of beauty. While the difference in their creation and form significant, the fact remains (over vast time and space) that beauty standards exist.
Another effect of the juxtaposition is that it morphs and swaps the power dynamic. In the original painting, Venus’ expressions and pose are that of ease, and magnanimity.
In the collage: in a different world of replicated mannequins, the same expressions and pose can be perceived as insecurities leaking and fear. The goddess of beauty no longer feels beautiful in a sea of replicated standardized mannequins.
The above explanation is from Hellay Studios, with whom we’ve begun a collaboration for this season of BTB. Every week, they’ll be releasing artwork related to the episode. Follow @hellaystudios on Instagram for more BTB fun, and to see the other beautiful artwork they create.