A couple of weeks ago I visited the exhibit Timeless beauty, in the Gallo-Romeins museum in Tongeren (Belgium). I visited it together with my wife Nathalie, I think a female look at things helps having a less biased view.
The exhibit combines antique (2000 years old) texts with images from the late Marc Lagrange, who died last year, in an unfortunate accident with a golf cart. I have been a fan of a large portion of Marc Lagrange’s work for a longer period of time, he has made a large collection of sensual images in which he depicts women as strong, independent, adorable, glorious creatures.
I would describe the exhibit as ‘Larger than life’ in several ways:
- The images are presented literally larger than life, impressive large scale prints, some filling an entire wall, where the image of the women becomes even more overwhelming. A total of about 50 images are used in this exhibit, mostly images that have previously been published in Marc Lagrange’s fine art books.
2. The images are all linked with old Roman and Greek texts, (Roughly 100 BC till AD 100) so carefully chosen you can hardly imagine that the text has not been used as a direct guideline to create the image. Some texts are literally visualised in the image that comes with it. An amazing search for coincident content has been made here. This makes 2000 year old texts revive trough the visual work of Lagrange.
3. All images have been linked to archeological findings related to the subject of beauty, to the deliberate actions of early age women to modify their looks for the sake of beauty. Both visualised trough objects, but also in video format, in which the techniques at hand at that era are demonstrated.
4. A selection of interviews of day to day women is giving a broader contemporary view on physical beauty. How it influences our lives today, how it is perceived, how women (and men) strive (or not) to achieve it, how decisions of medical/surgical manner are considered (or not) to be valuable, desirable in the pursuit to beauty … interesting hearing, straight from the heart of the people talking.
It shows that beauty standards are not just from our modern times, but that it has been present for a very long period. I have found it very interesting also to see how beauty was also very clearly age related, with a shift from pure physical beauty at a younger age, towards a more mature, innate beauty from a certain age.
As the subject of feminine beauty is often present in my work, I have enjoyed my visit a lot. It is wider oriented than just the male vision on female beauty and that is a good thing. It has a selection of images by Marc Lagrange that I love a lot. (I’m not very fond of his latest, more staged work).
And the best thing, you can still visit it, till june 30th 2017.
More info: Timeless Beauty