Manipulating vintage pin-up photographs from the 1950s and 1960s, Eva Stenram subverts their original function to scrutinize the disembodiment and sexual objectification of women. In the ongoing series Drape (2011–), Stenram conceals overt nudity by physically or digitally altering her source material, creating a rupture within each scene through an absence of information. Transforming the relationship between model and environment by transposing foreground and background, the London-based Swedish artist heightens the element of fantasy in her images to emphasize the voyeuristic act of looking. The viewer’s gaze is deflected from the body, yet the attributes hidden behind the curtain stimulate imagination.
Adapting the strategy of a billboard advertisement, Stenram’s Drape (Print 1) (2014) is shown against the backdrop of a historic façade. Depicted within an ambiguous interior dominated by the extension of window dressing, the figure’s outstretched legs echo the form of a fire escape that runs along an adjacent wall. Over the years, the building has functioned as a private home, sundry hotel, and a youth hostel; in the 1950s and 1960s, its “Cabana Room” was a notorious meeting place. Confronting notions of beauty, Stenram’s image binds histories and unfolds a narrative within the fabric of the city’s garment district.
Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein