Lebanese artist takes a stand with rebellious montages

Sarah Saleh has a distinct intention. She’s disheartened by female stereotypes, by the sexualisation of women at the hands of the very media that are alleged to provide solidarity. To that end, Akupunkture, her first solo show in Milan’s LUME (Laboratorio Universitario Metropolitano) this month, aimed “to destroy conformity and the reduction of women to objects…against sameness, normality and lack of imagination.” Saleh is a devotee of photomontage pioneer Hannah Höch, who was challenging portrayals of the “New Woman” in Weimar Germany nearly a century ago.

“Akupunkture is a tool for criticizing the mechanized violent world and the mass culture beauty industry,” read the blurb for the exhibition. Painting, collage, and installation featured. In Disfigurements, flawless faces are ripped from their fashion mag homes by Saleh and glued onto wrinkly yellowing paper, while in Creatures pouting babes sprout curly moustaches with cartoon proportions. Saleh literally deconstructs the standard myth of the perfect woman and lets her loose in The 3 Sisters, blowing up body parts, a twist on outsize modelling.

From Beirut and currently based in Milan, Saleh has a few subversive intentions for the September issue of Selections. We can’t wait.