In her series Hair, Brussels-based artist Elodie Antoine creates intricate, hair-like sculptures that embody abstract living forms. The pieces, which are covered in thick strands of hemp, are braided, brushed, styled and accessorized. Inspired by her young daughter’s love of fairytales – and the long, glossy locks which are so often the defining feature of fairytale princesses – Antoine’s work explores the attraction-repulsion paradox associated with materials such as hair. We spoke to her about her artistic process and what kind of reaction she hopes her artworks will evoke.
What were your inspirations behind these pieces? This work was inspired by my daughter – I started it when she was four. At that age, little girls are usually bathed in stories about princesses with amazing long hair, like Rapunzel. What I found interesting is the contradiction that lays within this; long hair mesmerizes but can also easily disgust. Hair is both a symbol for femininity and animalism. Western culture is full of these symbolic hair tales: Medusa, Samson, Christ or Mary Magdalene.
Why do you use hemp instead of hair to create your sculptures? Hemp looks like neglected, wild hair and is less charming than real hair. Its dirty blonde, messed-up quality provides a refreshing contrast to the often intricate hairdos that I create. And to me, hemp already looks like hair, so I didn’t have to do much in order to recreate the illusion. Just a nice combing!