Bodybuilder Vignettes

Rachel Rampleman &

Female Identity and the Cult of the Body: Marginal Figures at the Center of the American Dream.

The ten decoratively arranged screens of the Bodybuilder Vignettes give us an insight into an unfamiliar world where professional female bodybuilders proudly flex their muscles. In the background, dynamic light installations emphasize the lithe, precisely rehearsed movements with which the women display their bodies. The videos show the same sequences of movements over and over again, so that we constantly notice new details.

The steeled bodies of the women initially seem anatomically identical to male bodies. Only a few of them are shown full face. It is primarily the long hair and bikinis they wear which tell us that they are women. Is it a matter of bodies as purely functional objects which everyone can form and toughen as they wish, regardless of whether they are male or female? Or a glamorous and abstract homage to 'woman' and female body awareness?

In her work, Rachel Rampleman casts an impartial and sympathetic glance at the women who contradict the established clichés concerning femininity. They play with the established gender boundaries, showing up overlapping characteristics. This play is a matter of female identity and the cult of the body, and of marginal figures at the center of the American dream. The artist succeeds in a multifaceted illumination of American traditions, stereotypes and gender roles. The installation leaves space for a play of ideas, astonishment and fascination. Rampleman’s work is open to interpretation – not to judgement, but rather to observation and contemplation: a sensitive, tolerant and nonetheless ambivalent insight into a world in which strong women lay claim to their place. (Sandra Reinhardt)

* We can only show an excerpt of this work in the online archive. For the complete version, please contact the artist.

About the video

Title Bodybuilder Vignettes
Year 2016
Videonale VIDEONALE.16
Length 00:02:00
Format 16:9
Country USA,
Language No dialog
Courtesy the artist
Specifications color, no sound, ten-channel video installation

About the artist

Rachel Rampleman
  • 1975 in Cincinnati, USA.
    Studied at the New York University, USA, and at the University of Cincinnati, USA