karina villavicencio


Digital photographs 2008

Silver print



Since years, Karina Villavicencio leads a work around the body, in relation to the question of identity and the relationship with the other. As a continuation of her first works in public spaces, she decided to work with micro-spaces, sometimes private, sometimes unknown.

«Maquis» displays three sets of works. The first one presents snapshots of the artist’s body. The second one, images of meetings between the artist and different people (men and women.) This subject is also found in the set «Collection po(i)litique» [Hairy/Political Collection,] where she exhibits the outcome of hair collects since 2008. In this case, the two last artistic proposals become fixed in a document, a time for the meeting between the sense of touch and the words, as well as a compromise to come to a snapshot or to get the hairy matter out.

To compose these snapshots, body fragments meaning a whole, she uses the concept of landscape. The aesthetics history tells us that, by definition, «a landscape is beautiful.» Thus, in face of a landscape, we foresee to live an aesthetics experience, i.e. we expect to enjoy a beautiful image, a beautiful landscape. As a result, if we face an image which does not fulfill our beauty expectations, we experiment a disappointment, a dissatisfaction regarding our expectations. Thanks to this process, as viewers, we could confront ourselves to the image itself, not just to «the presupposed idea of the image».

Karina Villavicencio employs this mechanism to surprise the viewer with a subject excluded from the field of beauty: the hair. Is it possible to have an experience of the beauty looking at ear hair or pubic hair? Between fright and fascination, as in a romantic landscape, the sublime could appear and manifest in all its splendour. The sublime, this men’s fear confronted to a passionate nature, appears as an ambivalent sentiment, experienced in the body.

Today, an unsexualized and hygienist view of the body is promoted. The skin aspect respects the same constraints as a car body. It is the model of a humanity controlled by coercive rituals. As we know, hair smells of sex. Sexual order and sexuality go together. As signs of humanity, of evolution, of life, and of our choices, our hair as well as the associated gestures, allows us to be active participants in the construction of the society.

«Maquis» is synonym of clandestinity and of shelter for disputants of the establishment. This word, maquis, presents this exhibition as the attempt to point out opposition zones, micro-zones from where we could dispute what is given as «natural» and that we accept without call into question, without digging into it.

Lulu-Yvon (sociologist of art)

1 By definition, «maquis» is a space of dense scrub vegetation resulting in a territory hardly accessible to the man. By extension, this term defines the shelters for the French resistances who where, as the expression of that time said, «in the nature.» As a result, in a broader sense, it has become a synonym for clandestinity.

Galerie du Tableau. Marseille, France. 2010.

« La Blastula succède à la morula et précède à la gastrula ». Group show . Espace Saint Sauveur. Paris. France. Mai 2010.

Espace Culture. Marseille. France. Mai 2011.

Pony Royal. Berlin. Allemagne. November 2012.

Photo Document

Digital photographs 2008

Silver print