Tag Archives: Spain

Beauty as a burden

19 Dec

Pectinidae is a moving sculpture that displays, through a shell dress, how beauty can be a determining factor for women.  Isabel Castro Jung’s artwork, made by a scallop shell structure, plays with the cultural beliefs and symbols that arise from the intense relationship between the masculine and the feminine. The sculpture shows the contradictory uses of any dress by a woman, as it can be worn to enhance her natural charms, as a symbol of a status or a group, or as a shield to protect her from the world.

Following the same line as Jana Sterbak’s meat dress (1987), rediscovered by Lady Gaga this year, Isabel Castro (1974) crosses the line between art and fashion, bringing her sculpture the possibility of being worn. Pectinidae is a sculpture wearable as a dress. It is made by more than 500 scallop shells sewed on a fabric net. The shells create an organic and articulated structure thanks to a handmade process that follows a uniform and repetitive patron. While Sterbak played with the concept of “vanitas”, Castro deals with beauty and how it can sometimes be considered an advantage and sometimes a burden, an obstacle, a hindrance, as it puts pressure on the expectations for a woman. In any case, she argues, beauty is a determining factor for a woman.

Pectinidae represents the symbols and the beliefs around masculinity and femininity. A woman dressed in this shell garment could be seen as a sea goddess, representing a beauty ideal, like a nude Botticelli Venus, offering herself to the world. However, this shell coat is also a scale skin, a shield that protects a woman from the exterior, from being the object of desire.

In the movements this Pectinidae dress allows to make, lies the mise en scène of Isabel Castro’s artwork.  As in any dress, wearing it implies to play a certain role that could become a burden. This feeling is represented by the difficulty of moving around with the shell dress on. It is heavy and the shells must be dragged slowly through the sand, being this load a real and a symbolic one.

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The rain in Spain doesn’t fall mainly in the plain

17 Dec

But over mountains.

Red Rain- Acrylic on canvas- 65 x 73 cm.