Ripped Chiseled and Rock Hard!

Morrison, Brian (2016) Ripped Chiseled and Rock Hard! [Show/Exhibition]

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RIPPED CHISELED AND ROCK HARD! is an exhibition of photographic sculptures dealing with the visual representation of masculinity. The work was selected for the Warsaw Photography Festival 2015, in Poland.

The presentation of the male body is paramount within extreme male bodybuilding: bodies are not judged on what they are capable of but solely on how they look.

Via the act of re-photographing, re-printing, enlarging, cutting, mounting and balancing, this work presents a number of photographs used in advertisements from Muscle and Fitness (1980 to 89) outside of their original context. The cut-out images in have not been manipulated and remain as they were found in their magazine, with no alterations made other than enlarging the image after tracing its outline and removing its background.

In 1980, Joe Weider* addressed what he describes as “a cultural shift” and rebranded his most successful bodybuilding publication Muscle Builder as Muscle and Fitness. With this rebranding came a subtle yet noticeable change in the advertising that it featured. The extreme muscularity of the male bodies started to be presented as objects and mechanical objects were presented as bodies. The classic visual signifiers of objectification were made more apparent; (isolation of specific body parts, decapitation and removal of an identity) visual tropes that had been more commonly associated with the sexualisation of the female form.

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