Female Gaze


Text by Chiara Belardi

MEP presents Dissonance, an exhibition in the heart of Paris that chronicles Senta Simond’s photography in the light of a new narrative. The poetics of her shots investigate the physicality of the female body untethered from male desire, where a pure and delicate aesthetic takes over.

Senta Simond is a young artist and photographer celebrated for her photographs of the female body that counter the stereotypical view of beauty. The Swiss artist presents a new body of work at MEP Gallery, the centerpiece of which is a diptych combining video and photography. For her first solo exhibition in a French institution, the artist proposes a visual and aural dialogue between two young women who have never met in person: a young Ukrainian dancer and an Irish harpist. Focusing on intimate, close-up snapshots, Simond presents intimate, mysterious and sensual work that questions our relationship with others. In all of the photographer’s work, like an invisible thread, the gaze serves as a structural element and a tool for expressing a variety of emotions. The images presented in the exhibition are of young women with a gaze that is at once fixed and liberating, emancipated and intimate, managing to avoid direct contact with the viewer while maintaining a strong inner presence. Simond’s artistic and aesthetic project expresses an invisible force, that of sobriety and discretion. The central work in the exhibition, which combines Simond’s images with footage of the two young women, whom he asked to film themselves inspired by his approach, also speaks to ideas of staging and performance, improvisation and chance.

© Senta Simond, 2023.

“I am interested in the multidimensionality of human beings: all kinds of emotions, such as vulnerability, anxiety, melancholy, as well as the more conventional ones, such as joy and strength, and what emotions communicate more clearly than the gaze.”

– Senta Simond

The artist’s works were included in the British Journal of Photography’s 2018 “Ones to Watch” list and the Foam Talent 2018 list. In addition, she was a winner of the Swiss Design Awards in 2018. The Swiss artist’s photography is indeed perceived and developed in an inward and profound way, it is more than just a surface, but an opening to a space in which her every feeling and perception, her every dream, desire or fear, coexists with the world in all the part of reality that appears tangible and real. The inherent elegance of Simond’s shots lies precisely in their multidimensionality, between photography and performance, and they spring from an idea of improvisation capable of creating a new narrative between female gaze, nudity and aesthetic delicacy. Senta Simond allows us to immerse ourselves in the scene she depicts each time, perceiving it from her own point of view and leading us to reflect on why things are organized in a certain way and accepted sometimes as fact or truth. Each shot is a veiled categorization of power and the dynamics of our lives. The message that can be correlated in Dissonance‘s exhibition is that of feeling good, with one’s body, with other women, with where one is. The young women portrayed seem focused on how important it is to take care of themselves and listen to themselves, because it is something that can be learned over time and worked on, and it influences everyday life. As we grow up distracted by a thousand other external elements, it becomes important to bring our attention back to what most naturally belongs and sustains us, the body.

© Senta Simond, 2023.
© Senta Simond, 2023.
© Senta Simond, 2023.
© Senta Simond, 2023.
© Senta Simond, 2023.

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