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Sculptures of the Body

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The Miranda Gallery in Paris is the first French venue to present Tanya Marcuse’s exceptional series ‘Undergarments & Armor’. On view until February 18, 2023.

With ‘Undergarments and Armor’, the New York based artist has created a fascinating typological study – presented in the form of precisely composed, yet sensuous black-and-white pigment prints. To complete this unusual project, Marcuse (b. 1964) visited museums and archives in England and the U.S., where she photographed historical dress items – from undergarments such as corsets, bustles and brassieres, to protective body armour such as breastplates and helmets. “The oldest objects date back to the 14th century. Not a single item is dated after 1900, which rules out the possibility of a living owner,” Marcuse explains. “I view these garments and suits of armour as sculptures of the body which, like carapaces, have outlasted their wearers.”

The series was first presented in its entirety at the Belfast Exposed Gallery in Northern Ireland. It was also featured at the ICP’s Third Triennial for Photography and Video (titled ‘Dress Codes’), as well as the daring museum exhibition ‘Love and War – The Weaponized Woman’ at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

In 2005, ‘Undergarments and Armor’ was released as a lavish, three-volume slipcase monograph (published by Nazraeli Press) with an essay by Valerie Steele, chief curator and acting director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

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