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Galerie im Tempelhof : Bob Jones : Beyond me


The German photographer with an eloquent artistic identity presents a selection of portraits taken between 2015 and 2021 at the Galerie im Tempelhof in Berlin. A small space for works born from high-profile performances in which the artist cheerfully plays with social injunctions.

A succession of juxtaposed portraits of women, wearing neither clothes nor makeup, against a neutral background, as if to lay bare their emotions. How would you instinctively portray an angry woman? At the end of a long process of intimate exchanges on the elements that could bring them to this state going as far as reaching it, the multifaceted artist wanted, with this series called in French “Colère, ma mère, Colère !( Rage, my mother Rage)”, deconstruct gender stereotypes regarding the apprehension of the emotions which cover the collective imagination.

It is with this in mind that she swapped her name – Elisabeth Eichler – for Bob Jones, helping to sow confusion between the thing and its interpretation. “I experience identity as a fluid construct that allows my subjects and me to take on various roles during performances.” she confides, questioning at the same time: “How do social norms affect the way we look at the bodies of others and the way we use our own?”

To materialise the difference in social treatment based on gender and identity, particularly with regard to the body, Bob Jones uses, in her very pictorial compositions, artifices of all kinds – spaghetti, fake paper grass used to decorate sushi, bathing cap, foam mattress, etc. – thus satirically denouncing a femininity corrupted by social norms. We discover a succession of analog portraits with contrasting colors and strong features, alternately soaked in humor and bitterness, where the models play extravagantly with their own image.

The photographs from “Each face stars” were mostly taken in 2021 when Bob Jones was taking courses at the Berlin photography school Ostkreuz, in a period still affected by the pandemic and therefore somewhat compartmentalized. Here too, the subjects seem locked between four walls, as if oppressed by their representation. The artist addresses the ambiguous relationship of women to their bodies, through the themes of pregnancy, menstruation and even food.

To achieve this theatrical aesthetic, the artist depicts performances with a cathartic content, in which she leaves great freedom to her models in their interpretation of the subject. Jones captures different sequences of the performances, the successive takes of which she presents here, as a metaphor for the path towards the emancipation of one’s own self.

In her audiovisual installation “She ate everything”, Bob Jones portrays herself through a fictional character “Ella Mangetout”. The artist superimposes two videos: that of her face vigorously eating a carrot cake with sometimes pleasure, sometimes disgust, frozen by that of the movement of the fork, then of her fingers, which grab the cake. This installation draws on the fetishism of food, displayed like a fashion accessory on the internet. Bob Jones here confronts the paradigms of food and her own body, relegated to the rank of consumable, of the need to inspire and provide pleasure, at all costs.

Noémie de Bellaigue


Bob Jones at Galerie im Tempelhof (Haus am Kleistpark) until April 14, 2024.

Galerie im Tempelhof
Alt-Mariendorf 43
12107 Berlin


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