The beauty contest


The sculptor employs the technique of low relief to treat such elements as lines, contours, silhouettes, and crispness in a different manner, while the method of depicting figures in a different colour than the intricate background serves to enhance those qualities. Each silhouette, gesture and pose is crisp, sharp, with distinctive plastic characteristics. The facade-like molding of the hieratic female figures arrayed in a linear, but not monotonous, fashion produces the desired recognizable image – a presentation implying a choice. The relevant details such as the spare accessories and the brick wall, as well as frivolous poses, are necessary not only for the chronological identification but also for creating associations between the uneasy, ambiguous situation and a certain historical period. The artist infuses his straightforward ethical message with aesthetical, even mythological connotations. On the one hand, the public has always had mixed feelings about beauty contests, which often provoked scandal and protest. On the other hand, it can be argued that the first beauty contest was that between Hera, Aphrodite and Athena, arbitrated by Paris. Cynical modern society made its contribution to the immortal narrative by placing female beauty on the street corner to peddle itself. The question about different layers of meaning in the narrative remains open for debate.

 

Brief annotations to the image

THE BEAUTY CONTESTis the show (performance) which meaning consists in the choosing of the best beautiful girl. The first official dispute for a title of "The beauty queen" took place on September 19, 1888 in the Belgian city of Spa, where man's jury "examined" girls behind closed doors