Art & Design

Annique Delphine Explores Objectification with Mountains of Tits

Art & Design

Annique Delphine Explores Objectification with Mountains of Tits

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Annique Delphine flips the male gaze on its head. With absurdist images and surrealist GIFs, the Berlin-based artist explores sexuality and female objectification using disembodied breasts. After working as a model in her youth, she decided to reclaim her identity, and found strength behind the lens. Since then, she’s crafted hyper-feminist imagery that challenges traditional notions of what it means to be a femme. Delphine questions the never-ending fetishization of the female body, taking ordinary images and giving them a kinky edge. Through her milk-covered roses (which are actually drenched in varnish) and her boob-filled dessert spreads, she reclaims femininity in her own pink-hued way.

BULLETT caught up with the artist to talk privilege, perception and playing with reality. View some never-before-seen images (and some recurring favorites) and read our interview, below.



Tell me a bit about the “Last Supper” series. What inspired it?

Curators Emma McKee and Tania Olivares asked me to do an installation out of food for them, and I had this image in my head of an empty room with nothing but a big landscape of food in it. I thought about da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper” and how we could turn that visual into a kind of performance piece—he viewer is the one performing by consuming my art. Lately, I’ve been very inspired by consumer culture and how it relates to the treatment of femme bodies. In our society, seemingly everything can be turned into a product. It’s done to women on a daily basis, it’s done to animals, it’s done to nature. I want to explore the boundaries of where consumption turns into destruction.

What themes do you explore in your work?

Objectification, sexuality, gender roles and femininity.

How did you get into photography and video work? What do you think you get out of these mediums you wouldn’t get out of others?

I started modeling at 14 and so I’ve always been heavily influenced by fashion photography, commercials and music videos. I take a lot of self-portraits, and I build temporary sculptures and sets that, for me, convey the way I feel women are portrayed in the media. Working as a model, I had a sort of love-hate relationship with the camera. Sometimes, it was the one thing that seemed to capture a beauty in me I wasn’t otherwise able to see. But most of the time, it felt like a weapon which was used to make me feel like I was never enough. The modeling industry just chips away at you and you’re either strong enough to not let it affect you, or you end up broken and loathing yourself like I did. So, when I quit modeling, I wanted to reclaim my power and the best way to do that was with a camera.



So you consider your work feminist?

A lot of my work is about exploring how femme bodies are objectified and sexualized in our society. And how we have internalized that to a point where we don’t even question the absurdity of viewing breasts as sexual objects. I want people to understand that a woman’s naked body doesn’t automatically put her in a sexual context. I think objectification plays so much into rape culture and we need to dismantle that. I can’t control what feeling or what message someone takes away from looking at my work but for me they are a visualization of how objectification makes me feel.

Is that why you like to use body parts in your work?

Femme body parts are already being used all over the place in advertising, in music videos, and as gimmicks, and I’m trying to push that even further by seemingly taking them out of their ‘place’ and giving them new meanings like as an ice cream topping or a piece of fruit or filling up cracks on the sidewalk. I want to show people how absurd it is to view breasts like objects.

What do the visuals like milk and roses represent?

What looks like milk is actually varnish. I use it to symbolize patriarchy and internalized misogyny. The roses represent femininity or femme bodies.



There’s been a huge influx of feminist art over the last few years. Why do you think that is?

I think a lot of it has to do with social media. I recently saw a cartoon from the late 1800s that was depicting suffragettes as man haters and I realized this has been such an old argument to silence feminists. Now that we can all connect and see each other it is much harder to silence the voices of marginalized people. Women are still underrepresented in the art world but through social media they have gained more visibility. And the more they are seen and heard the more people are inspired to create something as well.

What is it about social media, and particularly Instagram, that makes women feel comfortable sharing their work?

I think it’s the accessibility. It used to be a very democratic place where political messages mixed with visuals could be spread easily, but now it’s more controlled. What’s really absurd is how you can report abuse like unsolicited dick pics or threats of violence against women and nothing is done about it for days or weeks, but a female nipple or a hairy bikini line will be deleted instantly. It’s frustrating, but it’s also a huge driving point to keep putting out work and fighting a system that seems to be more tolerant of gender based violence than it is of women just being comfortable with their bodies—Instagram has become not only a great platform for feminist art but also a battle ground.

What’s your definition of feminism, particularly as it relates to art and creative expression?

Feminism for me means the movement towards the advancement of all marginalized people. I think it has to be intersectional and inclusive and also tolerant to the fact that a lot of people are still learning about their own privilege, and how they benefit from the oppression of other people. Art has always helped people instigate social change and I’m happy to start a dialogue with my work.



How would you describe your aesthetic?

I play a lot with symbolism and ‘girly’ themes like the color pink, glitter and flowers. I’m inspired by everything around me, but especially nature and artificiality, and I’m always combining the two to create alternate realities that simultaneously feel fake and organic.

What’s the goal behind focusing on those kind of feminine themes?

I take stereotypical feminine imagery and present it in an unfamiliar way, so that people are maybe taken aback by it and start questioning how we assign roles or traits to one gender, or, for instance, how we associate nudity with sex even if the context isn’t there at all. But I also like to do the opposite—taking something familiar completely out of context, like an arrangement of flowers, and then pouring varnish over them. It looks like something sexual but it isn’t at all—playing with people’s perception is a big theme in my work.

Are there any artists that have influenced your style?

Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin and Arvida Byström, to name a few.



How have you evolved as an artist?

I’m more confident in what I do now. In the beginning, I was trying too hard to make something people would like or instantly understand. That’s just not how my mind works, though.

My work is 100% intuitive. When I work on something, I often don’t really know yet what it is—I feel something and just let it out in a creative way. Then, afterwards, I take a step back and analyze what I created. In doing that, I’ve learned to trust in my intuition and just let it guide me.

What do you want people to take away from your work?

I just  express myself in ways that feel honest to me, and I hope that some people who look at it feel understood and less alone. My work is always closely tied to my own lived experience, so a part of my motivation is to be seen and to understood. Beyond that, I try not to have specific expectations—just an open mind for exchange.