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July 19, 2010 | by  | in Visual Arts |
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Goldenage—Andrea du Chatenier

Visual arts

If there is one exhibition that should entice city dwellers to make the trip out to TheNewDowse, it should be Goldenage: Andréa du Chatenier. Greek and Roman mythology spoke of an era of peace and prosperity in which people lived in blissful happiness amidst nature, and Chatenier has taken this legend of a golden age and moulded it into a futuristic vision of glitter, polystyrene, and high-heeled shoes. Chatenier cleverly quotes famous works from the history of art and given them a twist in order to fit with the 21st century. The ancient Venus of Willendorf has been inflated to a life-sized sculpture and kitted out with a pair of fake Jimmy Choo high-heels. Facing off with the voluptuous Venus is a reclining sculpture of America’s Next Top Model dressed in a slinky golden sequined outfit.

Automatically the viewer realises that there is something not quite right about these figures. It quickly becomes apparent that these sculptures of perceived glamour and feminine beauty are made from cheap and highly disposable materials such as polystyrene. The contrast between the image and the material draws attention to Chatenier’s sceptical view of the consumer paradise in which society finds itself.

Chatenier’s works also denote society’s views on the issue of female beauty. In the past the voluptuous barefooted figure of the Venus of Willendorf was seen at the pinnacle of female attractiveness. However, staring her down now is the waif-like long-limbed figure of a participant in the reality television show America’s Next Top Model. It is a skilful piece of juxtaposition, and clearly shows that Chatenier’s works have multiple layers of meaning.

If I have one negative comment about this exhibition it is that there are too few of Chatenier’s sculptures on display. TheNewDowse needed to allocate more of its wide gallery spaces to Chatenier so that viewers could enjoy more of her savvy and unique artworks.

Goldenage: Andrea du Chatenier
15 May – 19 September,

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  1. Claire Regnault says:

    The Jimmy Choo’s arn’t fake – they are real, as are the Lauboutin petal sandels.

  2. Milly Holiday says:

    They also reminisce the character of the artist herself, who dresses up as a ‘glittered-up’ transgendered horse every few years under the pseudonym of “Bad Horse” alongside her side-kick “Courtney Place”.

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