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Kiki Sculpture Series

Kiki de Montparnasse inspires the Kiki Sculpture series which is a work on female independence by Akane Takayama. An insightful set of sculptures which position the motif of Kiki de Montparnasse as a symbol for female aspirations. This is one of the artist’s most personal expressions in her work. As a young woman she independently set herself on a course to become a contemporary artist. The journey was taken alone and faced many obstacles; being a Japanese person living in England, being a woman alone making her own way, choosing a path in life, contemporary artist, which provides only the opportunities you make for yourself. For Takayama the story of Kiki is one of constantly being the subject of an ugly male hypocrisy which she overcame by shamelessly manipulating men.

Kiki de Montparnasse, Alice Ernestine Prin, was an artist, muse and creative women who lived within the shadow of male patriarchy. Judgement of her work was almost always contextualised by male ideals of what a woman should be and what a woman shouldn’t be. Whilst it was perfectly acceptable for men to desire and lech after the body and flesh of a beautiful woman, that woman would always receive public disdain and be seen to have her morals questioned in a way men avoid. Kiki was no wilting flower and she was no-one to be told how to be or how to act; she valued and protected her own individual freedoms.

For Takayama, using Kiki as a motif creates the perfect crowbar to smash open the glass ceiling from above which men still look down on women today.