VEGAS is delighted to present ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, a group project curated by Anny Baranova, which brings together eight artists. Exploring notions of woman’s mysterious allure, her seductive charms and irresistibility, her skill to hypnotize and manipulate; the exhibition introduces a compilation of works, directed at indicating various aspects of female power and woman’s dark, dangerous side.
For the past couple of centuries the essence of a femme fatale has been occupying numerous works of literature and visual art. Initially, notions of femme fatale character have frequently appeared in Greek mythology as a monstrous Medusa, enchanting Circe and revengeful Medea. Moreover, ‘scarlet women’ Delilah and Jezebel of the Old Testament have depicted sexually alluring and irresistible tradition of femme fatale as well as their shamelessness and immorality. Naturally, the power of seduction and temptation can be traced back to the first woman created by God, Eve.
Femme fatales are beautiful and charming as well as cunning and manipulative, risky and dangerous. Trap for men? It appears to be so, but ‘human nature’ has been making men come back for more and will continue to do so. Having her captivating power over a man is no hard trick for a woman who knows how to play ‘mind games’ brilliantly. Possible display of warm genuine feelings or confirmation of affection toward a man of her attention is not in the femme fatale’s ‘rule list’ and consequently leads to asymmetrical nature of romantic relationship and ultimately leave their initially enchanted victims obsessed, disillusioned, emotionally and physically ‘drained’. Femme fatale’s mysterious nature is double-faced, beyond doubt, and element of daylight’s sweet innocence, enticing, yet naïve behavior and, genuine gaze can be the perfect façade, changing those lovely ladies into intimidating, ‘vampiresque’, thrilling beauties, with eyes of deadly gaze.
Simon Bedwell will be showing his new mixed-media work, made especially for the exhibition. In his new work, Bedwell explores the relationship between holes - represented and actual, using both the wall image of a woman revealing her sex and the actual gallery space, referencing Michael Asher’s famous gesture of the 70’s. Simon Bedwell (Courtesy of MOT International, London) completed his studies in St. Martins School of Art, London and Goldsmiths. Artist’s exhibitions include Studio Voltaire, london, Colony Gallery, Birmingham, 1000000mph, London , Saatchi Gallery, London, ICA, London and CCA, Glasgow.
Philip Jones will be presenting a brand new, large scale painting created in artist’s traditional style, fusing eccentric characteristics, mythological and almost fairy tale-like symbolism and playful extravagance. Philip Jones studied at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, London and the Royal College of Art, London, graduating in 1996. He has been awarded The British School at Rome’s Rome Scholarship in Painting 1997. Jones’ exhibitions include New Contemporaries Tate Liverpool (touring) , Cornerhouse, Manchester, Southampton City Art Gallery, and FRED, London.
Elke Krystufek will be showing one of her infamous portraits, illustrating and referencing a renowned poet, Sir John Suckling. Elke Krystufek’s (courtesy of Akinci Amsterdam) institutional exhibitions include GEM – Museum für Aktuelle Kunst, Den Haag, ARC Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, Georges Pompidou in Paris, and MoMA Contemporary Art Center in New York. Moreover, Krystufek was one of the four selected artist representing Austria at the Venice Biennale in the Austrian pavilion in 2009.
Jemima Stehli will be exhibiting several photographs from a well-known series ‘Strip’, in which the artist reveals her naked body in front of male curators, dealers, writers and critics. Jemima Stehli emerged onto the International art scene during the first wave of ‘Brit Art’ in the 1990’s and her solo institutional credits include Palais Thurm and Taxis in Bregenz, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver and Chisenhale Gallery in London.
Furthermore, the show includes paintings and works on paper by Andrea Lehmann, portraying fusion of feminine dark side and melancholic, mysterious side. Andrea Lehmann (Courtesy Anna Klinkhammer gallery, Duseldorf) completed her MA studies at Art Academy of Düsseldorf. Lehmann’s selected exhibitions include Saatchi gallery , London, Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr, Rubell Family Collection, Miami , Museum Ratingen, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf and Museum of Glass, Tacoma/Washington.
Dawn Mellor’s portraits of female celebrities add elements of irony and pastiche to the exhibition, presenting the viewer with altered visual representation of recognized characters. Dawn Mellor has graduated from Royal College of Art in 1996 where she completed her MA studies. The artist lives and works in London and had exhibitions in Galerie Gabriel Rolt in Amsterdam, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, Spacex, Exeter in UK, Yvon Lambert Gallery in New York, and Tate Liverpool in UK. Moreover in 2009, Mellor had a Solo presentation at Frieze Art Fair in London.
Claire Pestaille’s collages, selected for the show explore notions of female elegance and fragility combined with dominance and control, evident in woman’s pose and gaze. Claire Pestaille completed her MA studies in Painting at Royal College of Art, London. Pestaille’s selected group exhibitions include Passage de Retx, Paris , Petah Tikva Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel, Chelsea Futurespace, Jerwood Contemporary Painters, touring exhibition and Hiscox projects, London.
Finally, Chantal Joffe will be presenting a work visually overflowing with intensity, echoed in essence of a woman, her feminine power and complexity. Chantal Joffe (Courtesy Victoria Miro, London) has graduated from Royal College of Art in 1994. Joffe’s exhibitions have been taking place at Bloomberg Space, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, Tate Gallery, London, Neuberger Museum of Art, MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Le Musee de Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Bergamot Museum, Modena, Italy.