Julie Scheurweghs often uses found footage in her work. Images she finds at flea markets and auctions, but also images she finds on the web. Her work often exists of re-framing these found images and giving them new context, showing the viewer a new way of thinking. The female gaze is somewhat of a recurring subject in Scheurweghs her work. It’s a term used to counter ‘the male gaze’ that was coined by film critic Laura Mulvey in 1975. The male gaze in both film and photography is always looking, while the female body is always being looked at. The gaze can come from several viewpoints: the audience, from a male character in the film or from the camera itself, but it is always sexually loaded and voyeuristic.
A genre where this male gaze is ultimately present is in porn. The vast majority of heterosexual porn is made with the male viewer in mind. The camera shots often mimic the point of view of the male actor. We watch from above as the female gives oral sex. We fixate on her facial expressions during sexual acts. Even when the female is receiving oral pleasure, the camera is often positioned from the man’s perspective looking up at her. Generally speaking, the male actor in porn is insignificant. Rarely is the focus his full body or do we see his face. The real protagonist in these stories is the viewer. That’s why the female turns away from the male actor, looking toward the camera instead.
Scheurweghs thinks that in both art and porn there still is a big focus on the male gaze. The vast majority or artist, photographers and directors that get recognition are men, so she believes there is need for a counter view that comes from the female way of looking at things. In Scheurweghs her work this done by recycling the male view into something new. For this exhibition she is, among other things, combining images of porn with family photo’s of people sitting at a table, eating or sharing a coffee. In doing so she is combining two different contexts and ‘gazes’ and forcing the viewer to reconcile them both. Yet what seems like two completely different worlds at first sight might have more in common then you think.
The entrance to the gallery is free.
Julie Scheurweghs’s website: http://www.juliescheurweghs.com/