Rosae Venenosae [Poisonous Roses] is a collection of video footages taken from beauty pageants organized and broadcast on television in many countries over decades. The way I articulate them highlights the almost ecstatic state of some contestants when they are told they have won, the feeling of pleasure or terror facing the astonishing destiny awaiting them, and the feeling of immeasurable happiness for having been preferred to others.
I stretch out these moments that actually last only a few seconds with a slow motion effect that enables the viewer to perceive other faces behind the apparent beauty.
Beyond the dramatic aspect, maintained by the tension of expectation and emotion during the very moment of revelation, I am interested in what generates these kind of discriminatory contests promoting the injustice of beauty. These contests, which go against any fair model of social success or professional upward mobility, are part of the devaluation and degradation of the image of women. They betray our instinctual behaviour, our frustrations and fears, dictate aesthetic models, exert pressure through the tyranny of beauty, in love, at work, in social relationships. This generates narcissistic behaviour specific to our hyper-sexualized and media-driven contemporary society, heavily influenced by the industry.
This ephemeral beauty conveys its own finiteness. It turns into something almost unbearable, consuming and poisonous for the winners who have to struggle against time to remain as beautiful as they were when they were crowned, and poisonous for those who conceive themselves only through the prism of this beauty.