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The body as an archive

Artist Blog by Wojciech Szczerbetka

The images in the blog post are snapshots from some archival images I came across on Polish eBay, which I have acquired when doing some research for my work ‘Pumping Iron’. All of those come from the same seller and feature bodybuilding shows from the 70s. When I saw these for the first time, I was struck by the blend of masculinity and femininity (especially when it comes to the slender posing), and began to ask myself about the role of the photographer in this process - when do images like such become voyeuristic, and what role does the gaze play? What are the power relations when it comes to looking, especially in the context of this male-dominated field, which, by no coincidence is juried by other males? This became even more interesting when I saw the opening scene of the titular movie, where the bodybuilders are being taught how to pose by a female ballet dancer.