Anti-aging creams, soaring stilettos, push-up bras and freakum dresses to match! Sugarcoated messages of high-gloss tabloids fight to dominate the perception of an idealised femininity. Photoshopped truths reflect a fetishized commodity: the ideal woman, and we’re hoping it’s not Kim Kardashian. We’ve probably all at some point felt the need to mirror this look of Cover girls and centerfolds to delight the male appetite. Cosmetics seem to be the solution. Their subversive messages intended to penetrate a woman’s coin purse, it’s lip stick, lipgloss, lip liner, lip plumper! We get it, plump, juicy and a little bit wet. This social foreplay excited by carnal urges shall no longer dictate a woman’s “needs”!
The Public House of Art has collaborated with Esther Zitman to exhibit two fine art photography series: Sugar and A lèvres. In Sugar, Zitman fantastically dusts sugar particles over the faces, bodies and shoes in pictures she finds in magazines - images that struck her because of the caricaturist representations of women. Behind the sugar coated glittering facade however, is a critique on the advertised female canon of beauty. In A lèvres, Zitman again uses pictures torn from magazines, and this time she smears lipstick over men's faces, resulting in images of men who stifle femininity. Zitman heavily works the tactile medium to bring a new, enigmatic and vibrant depth as she strips them of their identities and radically changes them. Perverse in method? Possibly, but this lacquered overkill illustrates a reality that sometimes men are the submissives.
In 1990 Zitman graduated as a painter at the AKI in Enschede, it was shortly after in ’92 that she permanently set up studio in Schiedam. Her works beautifully interact in a the dialogue that media promotes. Her success has see her in art gallery exhibitions throughout the Netherlands including the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam, which also houses some of her works in their permanent collection. Esther Zitman’s artistic practise with unconventional materials enables her to creatively challenge societal roles and projected media messages. Girls aren’t always made up of sugar, spice and everything nice, better put on your big boy boots!