Strong, lustful, temptresses, femme fatales, caregivers, demonic or mythic, women have been represented in a myriad of ways across the centuries to fulfill a patriarchal view of the world,” says curator Alona Pardo. “Weaving the narrative of artists who, regardless of gender, have been able to challenge not only social norms but also the limitations of art and its restrictive categories. Central to the artists and works represented is a commitment to experimentation and to pushing the boundaries of artistic practice.” 

France, Var (83), Port Cros National Park, Porquerolles Island, Fondation Carmignac

Organized thematically, the exhibition draws on ideas of myths and monsters in the representation of women to reflect on womanhood in all its many guises. Moving surefootedly between images of goddesses to scrutinizing the idea of the femme fatale, from disruptive ideas of motherhood to paying homage to the power of women’s desire, from beguiling fairytale creatures to cyborgs highlighting their
emancipatory potential, to elevating (dis)obedient bodies that upend Western conventions of beauty while reflecting on the body as vessel,
the exhibition closes with a section devoted to sirens and anti-icons to explore how gender is shape shifting in the 21st century. Ultimately, the works in the exhibition disrupt conventional ideas of womanhood to reflect on feminine power and how the representation of women has shaped global cultural attitudes”. 

Bringing together key works from the Carmignac collection alongside a number of important loans, the exhibition assembles work by pioneering artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Mary Beth Edelson, Judy Chicago, Tracey Emin, Roy Lichtenstein, Lee Bul, Chris Ofili alongside younger artists including France-Lise McGurn, Naudline Pierre, Loie Hollowell, Martine Gutierrez amongst many others. “I am delighted that Tate and the Musée d’art Moderne de Paris amongst other institutional lenders have already promised important loans to this show,” adds Pardo.