Michael Sayles
Naked Woman in African Mask Descending a Staircase, 2019

  • Canvas, pencil, acrylic and glue on canvas
  • 145 x 86,8 x 6,8 cm
  • Acquired in 2021

Naked Woman in African Mask Descending a Staircase takes as a formal reference Marcel Duchamp’s famous painting from 1912, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. In French, ›nu‹ is a gender-neutral term. Similarly, both the German ›Akt‹ and the English ›nude‹ do not specify a gender. Duchamp’s motif is a moving body constructed in Cubist manner: a mechanical sequence, diagonally traversing the canvas. The title chosen by Sayles for his painting object, Naked Woman […] defines the figure’s gender as female, but crowns ‘her’ with a male West African helmet mask, which dominates the picture with its structure. With it, Sayles pushes the gender play further by putting a mask reserved for men on ›her,‹ the nude. According to the artist, the title might also have been: »Naked Woman in African Mask for a Male but She Doesn’t Care because She Is European.« This makes it clear that here gender determination has been transferred into the canon of borrowed (and stolen) works, into the discourse surrounding cultural appropriation and colonial suppression.

Michael Sayles

* 1968 Birmingham, GB
Lives and works in Berlin, D

Related artworks


Bethan Huws
L´arbre, 2016
Neon tube mounted on Plexiglas, transformers

Painting 122 Artworks

Horst Antes
Figur für HAP Grieshaber, 1968
Chalk, acrylic resin on canvas
Ma Qiusha
You (Kaleidoscope no.2), 2013
Watercolor, mixed media on paper

Shopping cart

Versand und Abwicklung erfolgt über die Bücherbogen am Savignyplatz GmbH in Berlin. Für Fragen zu Bestellungen wenden Sie sich bitte direkt an Handling and Shipping is done by theBücherbogen am Savignyplatz GmbH in Berlin. For questions regarding your order please contact directly.
* Bestellungen aus der EU sind bei PayPal auch ohne Anmeldung möglich. Sie können dann auch bequem per Bankeinzug oder mit Ihrer Kreditkarte zahlen. Für diese Option klicken Sie bitte auf PayPal und wählen anschließend die Bezahlung "Mit Lastschrift oder Kreditkarte" aus. Buyers from within the EU can use PayPal even without having a PayPal account. Via Paypal you can also check out with direct debit or with your credit card. For this option please click on "Check out with PayPal" and make use of the "Payment by Direct Debit or Credit Card".