The patriarchy's encyclopedia 

"L’Encyclopédie beauté bien-être" edited by Anne-Marie Seigner, in Paris, in 1964 represents as an institution the patriarchy, a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women* are largely excluded; as well as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, travesties, transexuals, transgenders, queers and intersexual people.
This encyclopedia is part of a larger collection: "L’Encyclopédie de la maîtresse de maison", "L’Encyclopédie des parents modernes", "L’Encyclopédie des cuisines régionales et étrangères", "L’Encyclopédie de la décoration".

In this project, I am doing an intervention on the Encyclopedia "L’Encyclopédie beauté bien-être" by adding some feminist artists' work on the institution. On one hand, to expose my critical point of view on the representation of women around the patriarchic cultural notion of "beauty", and on the other hand, to add some important information on the chapters dedicated to sexuality "La vie sexuelle" (Sexual life), to mention the female's genitals and the female pleasure that are missing.

The five artists I added, Lynn Hershman Leeson (USA), Ellen Gallagher (USA), Christy Singleton (USA), Christy Singleton (USA) and Lori Malépart-Traversy (Canada), in the Encyclopedia "Beauté bien-être", are all women*, feminists, and they all work on gender identities, racial stereotypes, and sexual tabus. Plus they all have some tinge of irony on their artwork.

In this intervention, all the artworks are added without removing or permanently covering any page from the Encyclopedia so the viewer can see them in a context, so I can explicitly show my point of view on the subject.
In addition, to present each artist and their artworks, I appropriated the institution's visual language (colors, fonts, aesthetics, women's portraits, etc) so the viewer has some difficulty differentiating between my intervention and the Encyclopedia's content, in order to stimulate their critical point of view, and bring some irony on the subject.

The first chapter of the Encyclopedia is called “Le visage”. “Soins de la peau, des dents, des cheveux. Maquillage: yeux, bouche, oreilles, front. Coiffures - Chirurgie esthétique. Esthétique et élégance de l’homme”. This chapter is dedicated to the women's face and all the treatments a woman should make in order to achieve the patriarchal beauty standards, including make-up and plastic surgery. In addition, the chapter ends with "Esthétique et élégance de l’homme” ("Men's aesthetics and elegance) which makes me understand that a woman's face is not enough the way it naturally is, but needs makeup and plastic surgery in order to exist, while a man is already aesthetic and elegant by default.

In this chapter, I am annexing the artwork of three women artists from the US that they all work on the complexities surrounding the construction of identity and on the women's facial transformations.

The first intervention on the Encyclopedia starts with the addition of some pink papers with the first artist description. As I said before, my intervention uses the institution's aesthetics but adding extra information.

On the left, one page from the Encyclopedia, with detailed sketches on how to use the eye correctors. On the right, on pink paper, my intervention, with the artist's description.

Lynn Hershman Leeson is an artist and filmmaker from the US. Her work combines art with social commentary, particularly on the relationship between people and technology. From 1974 until 1978, she conceived, constructed and developed a fictional persona and an alter ego called Roberta Breitmore.
The creation of Roberta Breitmore consisted not only on a physical self-transformation through make-up, clothing, and wigs that enabled the occasional role-playing, but also a fully-fledged, complete personality who existed over an extended period of time and whose existence could be proven in the world through physical evidence, from a driver’s license and credit card to letters from her psychiatrist.

On the left, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Masked Roberta. Roberta Breitmore Series. 1975.
On the right, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Roberta’s Construction Chart 1, 1975, archival digital print and dye transfer, 58.4 x 43.2 cm. Both artworks framed in the institution's visual language.

On the left, Roberta’s Construction Chart 1, 1975, archival digital print and dye transfer, 58.4 x 43.2 cm.
On the right, the Encyclopedia's make-up description page. 

My intervention follows with Ellen Gallagher's work, an artist from The U.S. Her media includes painting, works on paper, film and video. With interventions such as covering up models’ faces and whiting out or cutting out eyes, she refer to issues of race, gender, and beauty impositions by the patriarchal society. The artist’s use of collage to unite different parts of a range of models’ pictures and the addition of extravagant new hairstyles onto female heads advertising wigs produces unsettling juxtapositions.
In this encyclopedia, the only women showed on the images are all white and from the west. Ellen Gallagher's work will bring a critique on these racial issues.

On the right, Ellen Gallagher's description.

On the left, and the right, Ellen Gallagher, DeLuxe serie, 2002.

On the left, Ellen Gallagher, DeLuxe serie, 2002. 
On the right, another Encyclopedia's page talking about the women's face and hair traitements.

The next artist is Christy Singleton, another feminist artist from the US. She makes sculptures that tap contemporary social and cultural identity. Like giant parade masks,  oversized busts, impaled on gleaming silver poles, perform this conflation of looks and status, self-presentation and self-worth. Her images are as much mocking depictions of vanity as compassionate portraits of female disempowerment. The work forcibly channels that grotesque, yet natural, the idea of making oneself prettier could amount to making oneself better.

On the right, Christy Singleton's description.

On the left and right, Christy Singleton, Silicone Valley, 2007. Brooklyn Museum.

On the left, Christy Singleton, Silicon Valley, 2007. Brooklyn Museum.
On the right, the Encyplopedia's page talking about Plastic Surgery. ("Le chirurgien d'esthétique").

The next chapter is about the body. “Le corps”: “Soins de la peau:bains, transpiration, cures. Soins particuliers: cou, nuque - épaules, bras. Mains, ongles- dos, colonne vertébrale. Seins - taille, hanches - jambes, pieds”.
This chapter is about the human body, but instead of being informative on how the body works and it needs to remain healthy, it only brings superficial information on how to lose weight and remain hegemonically beautiful. The woman’s body is absolutely objectified, plus it never mentions anything about the genitals, which is an important part of the body.

On the left, the Encyclopedia instructions on how to slim down the waist. ("Pour aminicir la taille"). On the right, Hannah Wilkes' description.

I am adding Hannah Wilkes artwork, to mention the women’s genitals on the chapter and their multiple physiognomies.
Hannah Wilke (1940-1993) was an American painter, sculptor, photographer, video artist and performaner artist. She explored issues of feminism, sexuality, and femininity.

On the left and the right, Hannah Wilkes, S.O.S Starification Object Series: An Adult Game of Mastification.

On the left, Hannah Wilkes, S.O.S Starification Object Series: An Adult Game of Mastification. 1974-1975.
On the right, the Encyclopedia's description about how to improve the hips. ("Pour améliorer les hanches").

Finally, this intervention ends on the last chapter of the Encyclopedia, which talks about sexual life. “La vie sexuelle”: “Puberté: beauté, santé de l’adolescente. Frigidité: causes physiques et morales. Attendre un enfant en beauté. Ménopause: ses troubles - veiller jeune.”
This chapter is about sexual life but, again, never mentions anything about the women's genitals and about women’s pleasure. Moreover, the image cover of the chapter is a pregnant woman. It only mentions the puberty, (“La puberté”), where it basically explains how the mother should talk about it with her daughter. Followed by the frigidity (“La frigidité”), where it talks about the married couples’ sexual life, focusing on the women’s frigidity; next, it talks about pregnancy, and how to manage to be pregnant and still being beautiful (“Attendre un enfant en beauté”), and the last one, is about the ménopause, and how to get old, but staying young - which makes no sense at all. (“Ménopause: ses troubles - vieillir jeune”).

On the left, the Encyclopedia's page about the sexual life, and on the right, the Encyclopedia's page with the image of a pregnant woman.

For this last chapter, I added the artwork of a contemporary animation film director, from Montréal, Canada, Lori Malépart-Traversy.
It is a short film, handmade drawn. Lori-Malépart Traversy humorously gives us a historical-scientific description of the adventures and misfortunes of the clitoris through the centuries, through a voice-over, which makes his proposal even more charming. “Women are lucky, they have the only organ of the human body that is used only for pleasure: the clitoris! (First quote of the film). The clitoris finally accesses, thanks to this film, its place of honor, between beauty, suggestiveness, and pleasure autonomous.
The film is triggered through an Ipad, placed over the image of the pregnant woman, to give to the woman's pleasure, the place it deserves, it also comments on the insignificant place the women’s pleasure have in this patriarchal society.

On the left, the Encyclopedia's page about the sexual life. On the right, the Ipad with the Lori Malépart-Traversy's short film about the clitoris, placed on top of the pregnant woman image.

Parsons School, Master degree in Design and Technology. Art installation. Paris, 2018. Social Design Project.