Rosemarie Trockel

A Lady at her Toilet


Werk - A Lady at her Toilet
Artist / Artist group
Rosemarie Trockel
A Lady at her Toilet
Material / Technique
1 ridge tent, 1 tent floor, 4 metal strips, 2 metal poles, 1 wooden camp chair with fabric covering, slide projector, 80 slides, 7 framed reproductions of old prints
Dimensions / Duration
ca. 185 x 302 x 205 cm
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

Rosemarie Trockel’s installation »A Lady at her Toilet« consists of a light-yellow pitched-roof tent, home to a slide projector on a folding stool. The projector beams reproductions onto the tent’s inner wall of paintings and graphics by French, Italian, and Dutch artists from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries.

The works shown make use of various painting techniques and perspectives, and stem from different eras, yet the motifs they all feature are similar: barely clothed or nude women in bathrooms who are dressing or undressing, washing themselves or bathing, combing their hair or looking at themselves in the mirror. The women are depicted alone or with a servant. Sometimes a man in the background is distinguishable, playing the role of voyeur or suitor. When viewers enter the tent, they observe the works from a similarly voyeuristic perspective.

On the folding stool in the tent are placed seven reproductions of drawings on gray mounts. Below them is a chalk drawing by French Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721), which served as a study for his paintings »La Toilette« and »La Toilette Intime«. Trockel’s chosen title »A Lady at Her Toilet« explicitly references Watteau’s works. In the run-up the artist added her 'comments' to the reproductions in chalk and pencil, and reworked them in places using water and fire. With these interventions, she highlights the changing perception of the erotic and the naked female body in the twenty-first century. Though it is no longer taboo, the female body continues to be sexualized and objectified in representations.

Author: Theresa Rößler

About the artist/s