Wonder Milky Beach

print on canvas
4 canvases measuring 180×260cm
2009

For a public commission as part of the International Photo Festival in Knokke-Heist Wonder Milky Beach replaces the usual advertising along the Belgian seafront and replaces them with images of naked Chinese women. Instructions for exercises, in four different languages, suggesting wholesome outdoor activities despite the overtly sexual imagery and artificially perfect sand and sea. It also refers to a national campaign where exercise equipment and instructions were placed throughout Belgium in the 1980s. Lying between healthy naturism and bawdy seaside imagery it draws on two parallel European seaside traditions parsed through the cultural incongruity of Asian bodies and language, while also hinting towards the current shifts in global tourism.

“By removing the images of naked girls and perfect beaches from their usual context and adding gymnastic instructions to them, a curious game is set in motion, in which place, time, language and movement are all involved.” Edith Doove in the International Photo Exhibition catalogue