The chaise longue. The daybed. The récamier. The canapé. The duchesse or the paphose. So many diverse, complicated names and yet absolutely distinct associations: women, glamour and sex.
Displaying a range of 18th and 19th Century oil paintings, modern and contemporary photographs, music videos and even porn, Venus: taking it lying down explores the pictorial and social relationships between women, idealized ‘Venus-like’ female sexuality and the chaise longue.
By demanding its user assume a sensuous, reclining pose, the chaise longue has accumulated sensationally erotic feminine connotations over the course of the last 250 years, marking the chaise as a decidedly gendered piece of furniture - a sexualised social prop within society’s complex web of gender roles.
The recurring image of the idealized female and the chaise longue unveils its potential to both socially and sexually liberate women, as well as objectifying and pictorially enslaving them.
Image ©Damian Fopp
Emerging Swiss design exhibitions are presented at the umlaut¨ gallery space on Fashion Street, off Brick Lane in London.
Emerging graphic design, product design, design theory and research, digital design and contemporary making are given a platform in a not-for-profit framework.
This initiative was taken to give the vibrant, innovative design movement in Switzerland a presence in the context of one of the world’s leading cultural cities, examining the scope of contemporary design questions and approaches, and establishing an intercultural dialogue between Swiss designers and the London public.
This series of design exhibitions is the result of a close collaboration between the Swiss Cultural Fund UK (SCF) and the British-Swiss marketing agency Blattler Ltd.
Gallery opening times: weekdays from 9am to 5pm.