An Evening with Jean Bardot
Artist Reception: Friday, February 9th from 7 – 10pm
Exhibit Runs until March 10th
Jean Bardot is an internationally renowned dominatrix, fetish performer, fetish model and film/movie actress, whose sparkling and warm personality has earned her the title of the “Laughing Dominatrix.” This exhibition will explore Jean and her adoring community of friends in an evening of fetish frivolity. The photographs – shot by photographer, Lucas Messerer – reveal a world seldom seen by the “outside world,” and nearly always misunderstood by them. Instead of the rather sordid or perverse scenes conjured by most people, the fetish world is primarily about beauty — of a very particular sort; dark in color perhaps, but attached to an adoration of the human body in action and in sexual allure with other bodies and objects.
This titillating aesthetic formed in late 19th century Paris, with the development of modernity, as it affected fashion, particularly masculine fashion. Modernity began to skew toward the symbolic and cultural singularity of the masculine — as the “modern man.” The feminine – left behind in her baroque hoop skirts and petticoats, was “mourned” through the fetishization of the strong woman in her now ubiquitous under garments including bustier, garter-belts, and high heeled boots, usually holding whips or other interesting ‘tools’ to punish primarily successful men of power, who sought – and continue to seek — balance through a risqué form of punishment.
We placed Jean in her Boudoir – another 19th century oddity. When European men built their mansions, they provided a “boudoir;” as a private sitting room or salon for their wives to initially sulk (the term derives from the French verb bouder to sulk or pout), but quickly transformed to a private space to see her friends and lovers, keep her beloved dogs, embroider and sew, and use functionally as her wardrobe. This room usually was built between the dining room and the master bedroom, and conceived of as a private suite for an upper-class woman, the female equivalent of the male ‘cabinet.’ The boudoir gained its provocative reputation from the Marquis de Sade’s book Philosophy of the Bedroom, in which he positioned the boudoir as dedicated to his salacious version of the lascivious privacy of female ‘talks.’
Picturing the “beauty in the boudoir” became a very common subject for the Impressionist painters of the late Victorian period, usually a young woman is posed at her vanity table, bathing, dressing, seeing friends and lovers, and often depicted with her tiny dogs. Additionally, the boudoir became a genre of photography, especially with early 20th century Hollywood actresses. Clara Bow, Jean Harlow, Helen Hayes, and many others were all conservatively photographed in the boudoir setting in the 1920s through the 1960s. Mildly erotic, they offered an acceptable level of nudity, with pastel-hued, hazy framing of the seductively posed woman, draped with peignoirs, trimmed in lace and white fur.
Lucas Messerer has photographed participants from the fetish community world-wide, and especially the magnificent Jean Bardot, his favorite subject. An Evening in the Boudoir with Jean Bardot invites you to join us in an evening of fun and community with her friends in the lush surrounds of her boudoir . . .