The artist’s conceptual photographs challenge the place of women in Western societies and their exploitation in commercial images. An exhibition featuring Anne Collier’s work is on view at the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland.
A large teardrop flows down the delicate cheek of a beautiful woman… This is a recurring motif picked up by Anne Collier who enjoys photographing magazine covers, postcards, posters, CD covers, old books, manuals, and calendars from the 1960s–80s. The artist singles out images featuring women, shedding light on their exploitation as objects of desire. The photograph of a nude bather walking into the ocean is a case in point. Anne Collier has a knack for identifying archetypal representations of women in commercial images. Using her installations she then brings out this mythical substratum, which challenges, unsettles, and even incenses us.
Born in 1970 in Los Angeles, the artist began researching female representation in collective imagination in the early 2000s. She soon ventured into the outlying areas, unsatisfied with lambasting consumer society driven by hedonism and the objectification of the female body. Collier started raising questions about the role of the photographer and the striking power of his (or her) images. She photographs herself in the act of photographing and, using an imposing camera, lines up images of women in the act of taking a photo. Woman thus becomes invested with power. Anne Collier seems to be saying that what matters is not the gender, but rather who occupies the dominant position of the taker of photographs, i.e. who possesses the power to photograph. Ultimately, the artist’s conceptual images denounce this power-function and the complicity of a world resolutely turned to photography even as it abuses its power.
By Jean-Baptiste Gauvin
Anne Collier, Photographic
February 23 to May 26, 2019
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Grüzenstrasse 44, 8400 Winterthur, Switzerland