Sam Roddick’s New Photography Exhibition: Hidden Within. Do These Pictures Objectify Women?

As a new art show by Coco de Mer founder Sam Roddick recreates hundreds of polaroids of women that were hidden away for years we ask, what do you think?


As the founder of erotic emporium Coco de Mer (and former Marie Claire sex columnist) it’s fair to say Sam Roddick knows about sex. Which is why erotica is the subject of her first photography exhibition – it opened recently (guests included Colin and Livia Firth) and is causing something of a stir.
 
It’s inspired by Italian architect Carlos Mollino. After his death in 1973 over 1,000 hidden erotic Polaroids were found in a property owned by Mollino. They were images of women that he had art directed over many years but kept hidden in the house – which he designed but never lived in – like a shameful secret.
 
Mollino’s images were hidden away, fetishized, highly styled and retouched. Roddick’s idea has been to recreate the images and “turn shame into treasure”. She cast 12 friends of differing ages, shapes and ethnicity and reconstructed Mollino’s images. She shot each friend 12 times, making 144 in total. She also designed the clothes and props, giving the photos a religious symbolism which carries through to the mounting of the prints. Each is framed on a velvet panel with the most stunning embroidery by Hand and Lock, the oldest English embroiderers  (founded in 1767), who are more used to working on Bishops’ mitres than erotic art projects.
 
It’s a thought provoking exercise in what Roddick calls “visual philosophy”, challenging our attitudes to sexuality and objectification. What do you think?

The exhibition runs until May 1st at the Michael Hoppen GalleryAll Images Copyright © Sam Roddick

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