Love Me Like Her
Video "Love Me Like Her", 15:30 min, Full HD, Color, Sound
Malerei , 0il on canvas, 180 x 140 cm, multi-part
The film won an award from L'Age d'Ore International Arthouse Festival in the category "Performing Arts"
It seems that while bathing, washing her body and putting on skincare products, Mascha Naumova performs everything that beauty bloggers would recommend to their subscribers. But the video is not accompanied by a cheerful voice, tutoring someone how to make her- or himself beautiful.
Shifting from culture to culture, the concept of female beauty is constantly changing. Therefore, this notion is not just ambivalent. It’s far more complicated - and for this reason the artist uses four channels simultaneously, dividing one narrative into different parts. Certainly, Mascha’s rituals would be called witchcraft in the middle ages. Her will to be seductive just because she wants to would seem dreadful in the XV century — according to the Malleus Maleficarum (1486), the malevolence of witches arises from “carnal lust, which is insatiable in them”. The post-Soviet society, in which a woman’s beauty is regarded as kind of a tool for resource mining, per contra, would immediately use these images to illustrate an advertisement or a fashion magazine.
To avoid these manipulations, Mascha Naumova puts into practice her own ones. Her bath is filled with pale pink liquid and the surface seems rather tempting. But this temptation is delusive — the artist plunges her body in water tinted by toxic acrylic pigment. Tired and silent, she wants to escape from herself and take a rest.
There is a sparkle of hope to reinvent herself by applying traditional artistic media as a magic ingredient. Could she just relax and then leave the bathroom transformed as Сleopatra after her secret rituals? But that’s unlikely to happen.
Self-objectification isn’t contraposing objectification here. Instead, the ability to create and the desire to fulfill your own image of beauty becomes a tool of free choice. Mascha’s way of being by herself is much like Frieda Kahlo’s, who wrote: “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best”. So does Mascha Naumova, transferring her selfies on canvases. Through capturing different emotional states and transformations, the artist is looking for her very own beautiful face.