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Madeleine is an audio/visual portrait of the anti-heroine born within the old tradition of cinema that is still very much alive today. Utilizing direct historic cinematic references, Madeleine depicts the artist herself taking on the role of an actress. It plays on the taboo subject of a woman yearning to be desired and the rigid depictions of desirable women in media and cinematic history.
As described by the artist herself: “Women have been portrayed in certain ways in the media and we have an idea of what it is to be desirable. And this stereotype of the desirable woman is something I both want to embody, but it’s also a stereotype that I despise and want to reject. And I despise this desire in myself. As a performer, I’m confronted with this issue and I’m often dealing with my own desire of wanting to be presented in a certain way. So, in Madeleine the character is quite ironic, I think. She is glitzed up with the lights, this Hollywood lighting, and make-up, and this pink glittering dress, and then she’s crying. It’s almost like a fetishist kind of crying. It’s almost like she’s enjoying it.”
Playing on the incongruous idea of feminine over-sentimentality, Madeleine directly refers to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 film, Notorious, in which the leading female character starts out as strong and rebellious, although being hunted by the secret service. The character then takes a direct turn towards surrendering away all her power, in order to become the object of desire within the male gaze.