Adelaide Damoah is both a painter and a performance artist. She utilises body printing techniques as the starting point for both her studio work and performances. In the studio, she combines body prints with text and found photographs to create pieces that tell personal stories of the past and the present. In her performances, Adelaide is in direct conversation with Yves Klein’s 1960 Anthropometries performance in
which he directed the performance of a group of nude women. In contrast, the artist directs herself to print her body onto white surfaces, remixing the original Klein performance by virtue of her identity, while simultaneously encouraging discussion about female representation, feminism, sexual stereotypes and art history.
Adelaide Damoah uses her body as a tool to paint and perform resulting in body prints. In her performances, Adelaide seeks to engage the audience in a conversation about sexual stereotypes, feminism and specific elements of art history. Her performances are a direct reference to Yves Klein’s Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue” performance (1960).
In front of an audience, Klein directed naked young women to cover their bodies in his signature blue paint and print their bodies onto a white surface. Klein selected women who would have been considered the feminine ideal, ultimately creating, in Adelaide’s opinion, “passive female bodies, ripe for objectification and sexualization by the male gaze.” In her studio works, Adelaide references the body print techniques of David Hammons as well as Yves Klein to start her work process.
After completing the body prints, she uses found images, text and gold to explore personal family history, which ultimately leads to a wider exploration of the history of Britain in the context of its colonial past with Ghana.
Having agency and control over the way she presents herself and her work is essential. When performing, Adelaide presents in a way that is devoid of sexuality to remove the possibility of objectification despite being nude a contradiction to the way in which Klein instructed his models to perform.
Adelaide is a black female, operating in a space where she is a minority and where European standards for beauty are the norm. In this society, the black female body has a heavy load of history to carry in terms of sexual stereotypes and resulting objectification or desexualization- meaning that depending on one’s physical characteristics, it is possible to find oneself placed into either a box which sexually objectifies you based on a particular stereotype or into a box which completely desexualizes you, with not much scope for just being who you are. She aims to confront these issues through her performances.