‘Hair Pieces’ by Rebecca Drolen observes our contradictory beauty ideals in relation to hair. She explains, “it can be a symbol of beauty, sexuality and strength, both contemporarily and historically. But there is a second side to hair that we find grotesque or shameful. We have rituals of removal and hiding of hair, it is a struggle that masses participate in. Yet the hair always returns”.
In the surreal set-ups, hair creeps and pours from everywhere. It is comically exaggerated and grotesquely amplified, such as ‘Wet Look’, which features a woman with long, matted underarm hair, drenched in sweat. Drolen seeks to observe, then subvert, our beauty ideals in relation to hair.
One example is the desire for longer eyelashes, which she notes that society views as “a marker of beauty – there are thousands of products that support this beauty standard. But at what point can lashes be too long and cross over to being terrifying?” Her response is ‘Longer Lashes’ (above) which depicts a woman’s futile attempt to curl her monstrously elongated, drooping eyelashes. Equal parts comedy and nightmare, ‘Hair Series’ is a perfect reflection of our eternal love/hate relationship with our hair.
Wet Look | Shearing
‘Once hair has become disconnected from our bodies, we treat it with disgust, yet it has an archival, lasting presence that outlives the body and defies death and decay’
Hairbrush | Tales
Rebecca Drolen on ‘Hair Tie’
This is one of my favorite images from the series. Actually it’s the first image I created! It incorporates an old ponytail of mine, which I had cut off years previously. The image addresses our differences in expectation for the hair of a woman versus the hair of man. Here, a woman trades her long, feminine hair for a symbol of masculinity; the necktie.
Text Emma de Clercq, Rebecca Drolen ImagesRebecca Drolen Website