The Crumpled Fashion Models of Stefania Fersini
Installation view "Stefania Fersini" at "101/EXHIBIT." Image courtesy 101/EXHIBIT Gallery.
Italian artist Stefania Fersini creates photorealistic paintings that re-envision glossy fashion magazine spreads. But rather than recreating shots of perfectly posed models, she represents them on crumpled magazine pages, their images defaced with crinkles, creases, and streaks of glare.
This fall, Fersini makes her solo debut in the U.S. at 101/EXHIBIT with a new body of these oil-on-canvas paintings. Based on actual pages from magazines, her works foreground the superficiality of idealized images of beauty aimed at consumers.
Although she only began focusing on painting in 2012, Fersini’s pieces attest to a mastery of the medium. With these works—which are scattered across the gallery’s walls and laid horizontally on pedestals—she uses painting as a vehicle to consider representations of women in mass media, but also to provide herself and viewers with critical distance from these images. In a poetic artist’s statement she explained, “I’m fed up going fast, / tired of the excesses and superficiality. / I need to paint to slow down.”
It’s not surprising that even the most clothed models that appear in Fersini’s compositions have sensual, suggestive expressions and poses. In Wonderland Summer 2015 page 115 (2015), for example, the red-headed model wears an unrevealing sweater but looks out at viewers with a languid gaze and parted lips. The fact that these pages are crumpled, seemingly pulled from the trash, adds a layer of anger and violence to the representations. Similarly, Fersini’s painstaking recreation of each rip, wrinkle, and reflection of light suggests the kind of obsessive desire and envy these types of images generate. In the end, the pretty faces and perfect bodies appear fractured and sometimes distorted—manipulations that point to the ways young women are grossly transformed into fodder for consumption and money making.
“Stefania Fersini” is on view at 101/EXHIBIT, Los Angeles, Sept. 12 – Oct. 17, 2015.