An ideal situation
“No man is masculine enough not to have something feminine in him.”
The three-part series “From Adam to Eve” involved eight women, including myself. As part of the project, each of us was asked to create an image of the man of our dreams.
The first part of the series is composed of simple portrait photographs of women and men. In the second part of the project, the female participants were instructed to stage an “ideal situation“, corresponding to their subjective notion of the most pleasant intimacy with their partner. The authenticity of the scenes was highlighted by the fact that the shooting was performed in the actual space where the women live, in their own flats or dormitories.
The culmination of the series is represented by a wedding photograph. Here every woman involved tried to simulate her own wedding and create a vision of a harmonic couple that would become a metaphor for an ideal balance between the female and male components in the psyche of an individual.
In the series “From Adam to Eve” I wanted to underscore the importance of discovering the presence of parts of the other gender in ourselves, a fundamental prerequisite for our self-awakening.
The whole project needs to be understood on a symbolic level. I have used the notion of the anima, developed by C. G. Jung, to represent the unconscious psyche of the opposite sex: animus as the counterpart of the feminine psyche and anima as the counterpart of the male psyche.
Jung practiced the process of “active imagination”, allowing participants to engage in an inner conversation with the anima/animus; speaking to her/him as if she/he was a real person appearing in a dream or as a fictitious person from a novel.
I attempted to express this process of active imagination through photography and its manipulation. In the photographic composites, the participants were asked to visualize their animus, in other words their masculine force.
The project works with the theme of gender transfer, which actually takes place to an extent. To create an authentic imitation of the male beard for example, the women used their own pubic hair. The male names they took on were not chosen randomly. These were alternative names chosen by their parents, should they have been born as boys.
This merging of social documentary, psychological argumentation and shifting gender identity is meant to provide an innovative contribution to the artistic reflection of the female experience.
To realize anima or animus in ourselves, to discover the inter-sexual polarity in our very self is to take an important step towards reaching our ego. Anima is one of the starting points when looking for a partner, which can be understood also as the fulfillment of our desire to find our anima in a physical form. What Jung describes is that when a man meets a woman, it is as if through some back door came his anima, stands itself between the man and his woman and the man does not know anymore whether he loves her or his anima..? If a man is “bewitched” by a woman in that strange, purely irrational way, anima surely must be there. A woman has also her innately imprinted picture of a man, or better said men, whereas men carry a picture of just one woman. As we are not aware of the picture, it is always non-consciously projected into the beloved one and therefore is one of the most important causes of a physical attraction and its opposite as well.