Enveloppes Corporelles is the ongoing project of Franco-British artist Mahaut Harley since 2018. In this endeavor, she crafts delicate collages using images from vintage glamour magazines, transforming the concept of the ‘woman-object’ into that of a liberated woman.
Mahaut Harley fades her images as a protest against popular female photography, aiming to distance herself from an era in which unlimited access to technology has made shock value tactics the default means of representing the female form. She cannibalizes published imagery in a collage composed to reclaim the body from vulgarity. This is achieved by presenting subtle glimpses of form rather than gratuitous female objectification.
Mahaut strips the bodies of intention, fetish, and expectation, presenting them in a way that prompts viewers to look and think again about what the body means to them. By using faceless bodies, she invites the audience to project themselves into the work for a more introspective and intimate moment.
Mahaut sees her work as letters to the past, a past to which she never belonged, where sexualization was an identity given to the female form. Through these letters, she encourages us to question our conditioning and appreciate femininity for its grace and elegance rather than sexuality alone.