Maisie Cousins – grass, peonie, bum at Photo London

Maisie Cousins explores the visual politics of female beauty in her debut solo exhibition at TJ Boulting

Grass, Peonie, Bum is the culmination of several years’ work exploring the complex and contradictory codes of representation that surround female beauty. Sensuality, indulgence and body image are all investigated through a series of photographic and video works. To heighten the sensory experience of the work, Cousins also experimented with smell, crafting a sweet and sickly scent in collaboration with celebrity perfumer Azzi Glasser.

Cousins started out by sharing her work online aged fifteen. Quickly building a loyal following on Instagram and Tumblr, she used this feedback and support to evolve her practise. In the last year she has exhibited at Tate Britain, KK Outlet and is now represented by London gallery TJ Boulting. She has made a name for herself creating unique, hedonistic and performative work that puts the human experience at its centre.

Video installation from grass, peonie, bum by Maisie Cousins
Video installation from grass, peonie, bum by Maisie Cousins

There is no tidy way to explore female sexuality. The work is a protest and revolt against decades of repression, flower metaphors and misogynistic beauty ideals. Cousins’s work is challenging, disorientating and confrontational. She explores the messy truth with humour and honesty. Images of snails crawling across boobs, exposing bum hair on bodies drenched in sweat and even reworking the archetypal flower vagina image by dousing it in red fluid. It’s difficult work, but that is what makes it so exciting. It disrupts the viewer’s obsession with order and challenges traditional codes of aesthetics.

Video installation from grass, peonie, bum by Maisie Cousins
Video installation from grass, peonie, bum by Maisie Cousins

In this exhibition, Cousins invites the viewer leave their inhibitions at the door and indulge in their own curiosities.

This exhibition is in collaboration with Photo London and opens on Tuesday 16th May. Maisie’s work will also be exhibited in TJ Boulting’s booth in the Discovery section at Somerset House along with Juno Calypso.



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