Woman Crush Wednesday: May Lin Le Goff
Interview by Lucy Farrell
Your collages are extremely unique. Do you have a set out vision for each piece or do you prefer to improvise?
Thank you! How I usually work is that I pull together inspirational images from films & artworks (both low and high brow) that strike a chord, as well as vignettes from life moments that I've observe, and then I improvise within those boundaries. The references serve as a loose guide in feeling, technique or psychology, and this allows me to make some delightful discoveries with my work.
For your series Stripped, you said that you “wanted to see if these images still held the same sexual powers or were the viewers gathering another sort of information from them”. Ultimately, what do you feel was the outcome?
Stripped was a bit of an open ended experiment. I made these collages after coming across a series of images in a fashion magazine where models were photographed nude on satin sheets, and then laid out in a grid-like sequence- it was a lot like looking at a menu. It felt very cheap and not at all irreverent of these women in any way.
So I cut their bodies out, left just their faces, and in the shapes of their figures I underlaid flesh colored paper. I loved the effect it gave, and in some cases if someone was just glancing quickly it would all seem like nothing had been manipulated. This led to more pronounced manipulations where I obscured faces and body parts to emphasize the subject’s figures. Those images are to me more successful within the body of work- the unidentified subject becomes just another body, just as the women displayed in that fashion magazine were “just” bodies. I give the viewer the flesh but not the gratification of seeing the private parts that were obviously there before- creating a sort of frustration in revealing everything but nothing at the same time.
I suppose the outcome depends on where you’re coming from. For some it was seen as something that held more sexual power via the art of imagination, or for others the objectification of the subjects were further emphasized through the concealment. I was open to both ways of seeing it.
Each piece sees the feminine, or what some might call “explicit" parts of the subjects removed. Do you believe this adds to the sexuality of the subjects or diminishes it?
Less is definitely more in this body of work. By removing the “explicit” parts of the subject we allow the mind to fill in the gaps- to see the unseen through our imagination. For me sexiness for most part exists in the mind for me, and these images are meant to evoke the feeling of a burlesque, a coy covering of most vital information which ultimately leads to an amplified sensuality.
There is a few vintage pornographic images featured in Stripped. Is this a comment on how extreme the portrayal of nudity is in today’s mainstream media?
I added some vintage porno to the body of work to play highlight the seeming fact that thing’s haven’t changed very much over the last few decades. The postures remain the same, the gaze remains the same. It’s infuriating that women seem to still be seen as commodities, and perhaps now more than ever when you look at the prevailing sexist behaviors plaguing society and the current political climate. Some men want us to smile and go along for the ride, and there’s a poisonous notion that our self worth is dependent on our physiology alone. It’s all so boring.
Your other work explores identity and the power of femininity in a satirical way. Do you use your work as a way of exploring your own femininity?
Absolutely. A lot of the work deals with becoming a woman in a man’s world and the growing pains of stepping wholly into womanhood.
How would you describe your creative process in one word?
If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
The Art Of Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously But Knowing Your Worth.
What is the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
I just devoured all three seasons of “Chef’s Table” on Netflix, and was completely inspired by all deeply personal stories of struggle, courage and passion. A must watch.
What is the most played song in your music library?
Most likely “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac. It makes me feel like I’m on a tropical beach no matter where I am.
How do you take your coffee?
Espresso with steamed almond milk.