Chantal Michel

Kabinett Zürich / Kabinett Bern

Having abandoned her early plaster objects as being too “cool and technical,” Chantal Michel has for the last few years made her own body the sculptural subject of her photographs, videos, and performances. Perched astride an eighteenth-century chest in a sumptuous room or limbs flailing inside a piece of industrial machinery, Michel both transforms her bizarre surroundings with her presence and, like a casually placed vase or forgotten handbag, becomes one with them. Always wearing gorgeous party clothes (the artist allegedly owns two thousand dresses and three hundred wigs), Michel is both a woman yearning to be the wild little girl with the run of the dress-up box and the good girl encouraged to be attractive yet not stand out too much from her environment. She often appears to divert the erotic charge in her work by concealing her face or selecting roles that have no overt personality.

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