The Body as Protest addresses the photographic representation of the human body—a motif that has provided photographers with an often radical means of expression for their visual protest against social, political, or aesthetic norms.
The book centers on an outstanding group of works by artist John Coplans (1920–2003), who fragmented and alienated serially conceived, large-format images of his own nude body. Relying on extremely sophisticated lighting, he presented himself in a monumental and sculptural manner. The body also features prominently in the work of other artists, such as Hannah Wilke, Ketty La Rocca, Hannah Villiger, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Their stances not only underscore crucial dimensions of Coplans’s oeuvre, they also convey a differentiated overall picture of the critical representation of the human body since 1970.