In the contemporary art world, where artists often push boundaries and challenge social norms, a photograph entitled “Woman’s Foot on a Platter” by Emmanuel Gimeno has been garnering attention for its stimulative and provocative subject matter.
The image depicts a woman’s severed foot, placed on a platter. The photograph is the result of cut off negatives that were later reconstructed using tape, resulting in strong severance lines that accentuates the dramatic effect of the picture. This technique enhances the feeling of disconnection and detachment, as well as emphasizing the objectification of the foot as a sexual object rather than a mere part of a person.. While some may find the image offensive or macabre, the artist intends to use this disturbing image to convey a message about the ambivalent perception of women in modern societies.
The foot, a traditionally fetishized part of the female body, highlights the commodification and dehumanization of women’s physiology. The use of the platter further reinforces the idea that women are expected to be served up as objects of desire. However, the artist also conveys the message that women’s beauty has always been one of the biggest power across all civilisations. Through the presentation of the foot as an object of desire, the artist exposes the societal expectations placed on women to conform to conventional beauty standards in order to gain power and influence. He further notes that not all women benefit equally from this power dynamic. Some may feel hurt or disturbed by the power granted to them, as a reductive and degrading stereotype, while others may use or abuse it in a manipulative way […]
Difficult to deny the fascination, despite its disturbing nature, there is a certain appeal that some viewers may feel uneasy about. The artist intentionally uses aesthetic elements, such as a nicely arched foot in a sheer ankle sock, slipped into a very high heel black mule, to bring a strong sense of sensuality to the piece. Additionally, the use of the leather belt around the calf creating the illusion of a severed foot can easily be perceived as a S&M bondage element…
The tension between the disturbing and the alluring adds another dimension to the artwork, as the viewer is forced to confront their own reactions and feelings towards the fetishization of women’s bodies. The artwork challenges us to question why we may find the image both disturbing and attractive, and to critically examine the societal norms and cultural practices that contribute to this contradiction.
“Woman’s Foot on a Platter” is a powerful piece of art that encourages critical reflection on the treatment of women in the world by men and women themselves. While the image has the potential to be polarizing, its ability to provoke discomfort and introspection makes it an intriguing and valuable contribution to the contemporary art world.
© 2017 R.W – Rare Tempo Gallery, Denver