Chelsea Culprit

born 1985

Chelsea Culprit comes from Chicago and lives and works in the Mexican capital. She creates oil paintings, sculptures and reliefs in which she works through the iconography of the naked female body in various manifestations of performative work. Her models are often go-go dancers, and one of the main motif of her paintings is sex work — an industry stereotypically subordinated to the power of male gaze. Nevertheless, in Culprit's work, its depictions become a space for bodily emancipation. The artist constructs counter-narrations for such iconic images as Pablo Picasso's ‘The Young Ladies of Avignon’ or Eduard Manet's ‘Olympia’, while drawing on her personal experience of working in a strip club. Provocatively, Culprit touches upon the tension between coercion and choice, the patterns of power and objectification, asking about the autonomy of her female subjects. Culprit’s distinctive painting style shows the influence of pop art heritage and street graffiti. In the series shown at the exhibition, strippers are captured during a break between performances, in an intimate moment of eating a meal. Their bodies, painted in several planes and superimposed onto one another, introduce movement and the impression of haste into the composition. Platform shoes, fishnet stockings, wigs and strong make-up are the props in a bodily spectacle, confronted by Culprit with the prosaic, but equally excessive and sensual activity of eating.

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