Aude Du Pasquier Grall
She had been developing the series "The Male Cycle" since 1998. The project explores the concept of how female artists portray their male models.
Feminist Artist Statement
"Since 1988, I have been developing a series entitled The Male Cycle. With almost scientific curiosity, I am shooting portraits of naked men according to a very precise process. I am always alone with them in my studio, with a camera or a movie-camera in hand; other movie-cameras and microphones are positioned on tripods around the room. None of them are used to being naked in front of a camera. They are young and desirable, and they take an obvious social risk. Young and energetic executives, computer specialists, or medical doctors, they are not yet aware of the responsibilities of their future lives. Nonetheless, they offer their bodies to my eye and to my creative desire; they allow me to model them with words, like sculptures. The surprise, then, is that the relationship that is created between us progressively determines the rhythm and shape of these 'Male Cycles'. Each one of these 'Male Cycles' corresponds to one particular young man.
My aim is to represent masculine beauty and to show with images and words how it is generated. I question the relationship between the female artist and her male models at a time when such a relationship has become possible, though not yet common. Based on an inversion of the traditional man-woman relationship, it ironically disrupts the usual codes and stereotypes. We are in the painter’s studio but the artist is a woman. To create this sculpture of the self -- to re-enact, subvert, reinvent the body and its words -- confrontations and alliances arise between us. An ambiguous complicity is created, sometimes even a disconcerting submission. This dual-voiced creation implies exchanges and alterations of our respective roles. We often play with great pleasure and humor but, beyond beauty and desire, exhaustion, emptiness and disappointment are constant threats. To me, the beauty of the male body is best expressed in a history of the cycles, in a period of time in which desire wavers.
In February 2002, video number 4 of The Male Cycle was censured in France. The day before the private inauguration, the personal exhibition that was supposed to be hosted by the arts centre of a university was cancelled by the university’s president. A certain number of institutions and media, together with the Ligue des droits de l’Homme have supported me, to no avail. This video is presented here."