london

Jemima Stehli

Chisenhale Gallery

Jemima Stehli seems bent on provocation. Even before her recent show opened, I had already heard several people say that they had no intention of seeing it. What was it that had gotten on their nerves? Apparently they were revulsed by “Strip,” 1999/2000, an earlier group of photographs, which Stehli had made in collaboration with a number of male critics. In those images, the artist is seen from behind, nude or nearly so, in the foreground; in the background of the otherwise empty studio sits the fully clothed male subject holding the camera’s trip wire. Invoking the idea of male control over a woman’s image (but only parodically, since his role is reduced to choosing when to trip the shutter in a situation entirely set up by Stehli), the photographs raise all kinds of hot-button issues about the intersection of gender, power, and aesthetics. More than that, though, the whole process just

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