empathy

A Woman’s World

Images of naked women are not hard to find. Turn on your TV, open your laptop or walk out your front door and you are inundated with female nudity, usually selling the latest product our capitalist society has to offer. When was the last time you saw a naked man though? Yes, you can probably recall the incident, but you had to think about it.

The latest exhibition at Galerie Tanja Wagner, "Male Nudes – Female Desires", turns the tables on this societal norm by asking how women view naked men. How (if at all) does the female gaze differ to the male one? I went along to this group exhibition to find out.

WLTM – Tall, Dark, Handsome Man

Greeting me upon entering the exhibition is the work of German and Berlin-based artist Paula Winkler. Her series "Exceptional encounters – as many guys as I could get" is not as sordid as the name first construes.

Paul Winkler at Tanja Wagner Galerie

The female gaze – Paula Winkler and her male subjects. Photo: Chris Phillips

Under the alias Renate Rost, Winkler contacted men on online sex platforms in order to photograph them, portraying the person behind their online profile. The result is touching; a whole host of men of all builds and ages posing openly in front of the camera, revealing a glimpse of the character behind the lust geared individual. Despite the fact that the men are naked and therefore on some level vulnerable to the viewer's gaze, it does not feel as though the subjects are being objectified. Winkler herself admits that the series is in some ways a “trophy collection,” but it is a tenderly looked after one at that.