For several years now, artists Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz have been conducting research on the heritage of cultural and gender studies, concentrating primarily on gender discourses and the notion of queer. They are interested in historical figures who were marginalized because they incarnated a sexual “perversion” and who went on stage to seek some recognition in their time. These stigmatized characters are made visible once again by Boudry and Lorenz who revisit archives as a base for their films, installations and texts. These works demonstrate how visibility (since the beginning of the modern period) of these bodies allows for a claim to power, a certain glamour, and a form of recognition. Nevertheless it also contributes to making these bodies pathological or criminal, to devalue them. Their work ponders on the quasi-simultaneity of the invention of sexual perversions and photography as well as they link to colonial economy at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th.
Thus Boudry and Lorenz weave links between different epochs as if to readdress the notion of “normality”. Playing with the conventions of cross-dressing and fetishization, the exhibition of these characters is doubled up with a baroque mise en scène. Totally assuming theatricality in their work, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz's films create their own mise en scène: the set up of the décor, rehearsals, directions given to the actors off-screen, are integrated into the non-linear narrative and allow the spectator to see a film in the process of being made. These films are also very theatrical in nature since the performative aspect is so essential, both in the way scenes are often linked to spectacle, dance or music, but also from a technical point of view since the scenes are often only shot once.