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The Transparent Woman and Torso

The Transparent Woman
Print on 5 mm PVC (curved), 200X90 cm
Photographer: Photo Farag, 1969
Accession Number 6744, box 38/ photo 33

Jacob Louchansky, circa 1969
Plaster sculpture,
30X50X123 cm
Item number 478 (before restoration)

In the Man and the Environment Museum a large woman is placed in front of a mirror.
Although the mirror is there so I could see the woman's back, I use it for my own needs, and absentmindedly glance at it to sleek back an errant strand of hair, before I look back at the woman.
While my eyes rest on her, I think of the great similarity between us. At least that is what they say – after all, I cannot really know. No glance at the mirror will ever reveal to me my internal organs like hers are revealed by her double nakedness. I will never observe in the same way my own brain, neck, or breasts, I could never know myself in like I know her.
And still, the similarity between us seems definite, an indisputable fact. I look at her as though she was my x-ray. Like a palm reader or a diviner. I look at her and immediately fall into categories – race: human, sex: female. There are many such glass women, who carry the same words, yet in different tongues. Originally they were created with their hands raised up high, however the model of this woman – standing upright with her hands hanging beside her – is the most common.
In the photograph, the woman becomes two-dimensional, just a façade, perhaps only skin.
She shrinks into nothing but an external layer of transparent plastic.