Bizarre or trending subjects, catch a break with our curiosity of the week. With her collages, the artist Marie Aynaud transforms nudes photographed by men into poetic works synonymous with freedom.

“In April, after being confined in my parents’ house for about a month, I was very confused. I had lost my job as a bookseller, and I couldn’t take pictures. I found a pile of old newspapers and started cutting them up. I was in great need of images, but I couldn’t face mine or Instagram’s anymore,” says Marie Aynaud.

Alongside her film studies, the 26-year-old artist from the south-east of France was introduced to photography – a more solitary medium that suited her best. But when a “blank page” prevented her from carrying out projects, it is through collage that she found a way to escape. “Unlike photography, which keeps me awake for long hours, this medium seems lighter to me. Through it I try to escape from my own visual language,” she says.

Deconstructing a sexist ideal

As poetic as they are absurd, Marie Aynaud’s creations are born from sudden inspiration, a quest for freedom, without restraint. Human bodies, animals, architecture and landscapes merge in her improvised pictures, and evoke the world of dreams – beautiful, senseless, or even erotic.

Because nudes populate her collages. Female silhouettes reveal themselves and show off their curves. “When I started this work, I got my hands on old Photo magazines where you can see a multitude of naked women called “muses” or “Venus”… I immediately thought of old libidinous men with their big lenses fantasizing about these bodies”, confides the artist. With her hands and her female gaze, she works on deconstructing this sexist ideal. From objects of desire, the women in her collages are transformed into symbols of liberation. “There is something powerful about being a naked woman in front of people’s eyes,” adds Marie Aynaud. Without denying the erotic power of the body, the artist portrays strong protagonists, assuming their forms and their charm. “Those I represent dream, are free, have their period – under the moon, in the lightning or even in front of the waves”, she concludes.

© Marie Aynaud