Feminist Photog Frames Marble Balls

Antique sculptures may be robbed of the colors that once adorned their surfaces but what has remained of these ancient beauties include anatomically correct, though often idealized, genitals that clearly indicate the gender of many of the figures portrayed, including if they were hermaphrodites.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network appreciate the anatomic realism of ancient masters.

London-based photographer Ingrid Berthon-Moine has taken advantage of this legacy of artistic depictions and chosen to focus her lens on a very specific part of this male anatomy for her latest series, which is cleverly titled Marbles.

We already know where to find the nipples at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as all the buttocks. To continue this analysis of intimate parts of statues and other paintings, there is now a series of photos on pairs of testes in marble.

These depictions are obviously not those of anatomic specimens preserved in formalin, but the gonads of statues of the Greek classical period.

Berthon-Moine explains that she has embarked on this photographic work because she "loves to watch men in the same way that they look at women. So a little gross, in close-up, which leaves little room for mystery."

The name of the series "marbles" plays on the triple meaning of the word in English, both "marble" in the singular, "ball" in the plural and, colloquially, "testicles".

"Etymologically, without them [balls], we cannot hate, protest or challenge, and at the beginning of century, men begin to feel the pressure of powerful and ruthless of the commercial gaze on their bodies," says Berthon-Moine.

The artist only selected Greek classical marble statues. This interest in ancient classical Greek statuary was prompted by the accuracy of its anatomy, the realism of its stance and the influence it still has on the shape of the male body.

She explains that Ancient Greece was a highly masculinist culture. They favored ‘small and taut’ genitals, as opposed to big sex organs, to show male self-control in matters of sexuality.

Conversely, modern depictions of male genitalia -- as in commerce, cinema, and advertising -- tell us about domination and desirability. So size matters and the bigger, the better.

The viewing public has responded well to the exhibition, and the artist had an amazing response to Marbles.

As always there are different levels of interest and reading in an art work and Marbles is no exception. She notices that women tend to do a checklist or a parallel with their male partners genitalia … and a slight content about looking at a male body, a kind of role reversal. For some male viewers, exposing the most sensitive part of the male anatomy (although in rock solid marble) to the gaze, trigger a sense of vulnerability which until now was mainly reserved to the female body, an uncomfortable role reversal.

To continue her theme of intimate male exploration, she has released a photographic series entitled "V" which depicts 15 various patterns of male chest hair as female pubic tufts.This merging of opposing signifiers collapses preconceptions and amounts to a funny and brutal attack on prejudice.

Here is the link to her work. http://www.ingridberthonmoine.com/Ingridberthonmoine/Home.html