“As a woman, I am constantly questioning the symbols and representations of gender today, as well as the historical, emotional and family baggage we receive”, says Swiss photographer Margaux Corda. After graduating from the ECAL, the artist has started working between Lausanne and Paris on notions of identity, beauty and heritage, which she enjoys deconstructing in timeless settings. Attracted by light and its shimmer, she creates portraits and still lifes with a retro aesthetic, and uses humour as a weapon to question taboo themes. “The form always influences my subject, it is very important for me that it is the driving force behind my creations,” she says.
Blade for Babes is no exception to this rule. Pink backgrounds, girly accessories, excessive use of rhinestones… Margaux Corda’s creations are eye-catching and evoke the gendered advertisements of recent decades. “The title of the series comes from a site on which I found a pink comb-knife. This platform sells weapons for women. They offer many products disguised as women’s accessories. I thought it was particularly representative of what I was talking about: something fundamentally violent, made cute and harmless,” she explains.
Resistance is possible
Light, but only in appearance, the series reads like a reflection on beauty and innocence. “It aims to question our vision of gender and the diktats imposed on women and men in our modern western society,” says the photographer. A collection of images – or rather symbols – denouncing the superficiality of the injunctions dictated by society. “How do women construct themselves, through images of female figures? And those of the media, of commerce? Do they influence our identity? How does it affect us psychologically?” the artist wonders. A kitchen knife – an object echoing feminicides, as well as the “place” of women in the home – decorated with glitter, a Hello Kitty gloss, evoking the premature sexualisation of adolescent girls, the body of a snake, representing fear, manipulation, but also man, through his phallic form… In Blade for Babes, there is no shortage of allegories. They saturate the pictures and transform the “pretty” into politics.
For with this project, Margaux Corda intends to “show that resistance is possible”. With strong irony, the artist seeks to reveal ordinary injustices, as well as a deeper uneasiness conditioned by patriarchy. “The image “The Wrist” is, among other things, a critique of the silence around mental illness among young people. It evokes the scars of self-mutilation,” she says. With Blade for Babes, she highlights the misunderstandings, frustrations, physical and psychological pain felt by all. A way of taking part in the fight “that is finally starting to come alive, through feminist movements around the world, through strikes, demonstrations and other acts of force against our patriarchal world”, she concludes.
© Margaux Corda