Girl power in advertising: see the beautiful exhibition “Women on View”

Women & advertising work great together. And that is a true fact, demonstrated by thousands of beautiful, intriguing, sexy and daring ads, over the years. The group exhibition “Women on View” in Berlin addresses the eroticisation of the female body in advertising photography. Patrick Demarchelier, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn and Ellen von Unwerth are just some of the photographers exhibited. 

(Photo up – Guy-Bourdin, French Vogue, January 1980; copyright The Guy Bourdin Estate 2018, courtesy Louise Alexander Gallery and Chaussee 36)

“Women on View. Aesthetics of Desire in Advertising” is too see between Saturday, February 2nd – April 27th, 2019. At Chaussee 36, Chausseestraße 36, 10115 Berlin, Germany ( 

What we are going to see? The most sensual ideas promoting Absolut Vodka, La Perla, Chantelle lingerie, Azzaro perfume, Levi’s, Yves Saint Laurent… The exhibition starts with early product advertising from the 1940s, through the era of the hyper eroticisation of women in the 1990s, to contemporary positions in advertising photography. 

6_Ellen von Unwerth_Bloody_Mary_from Absolut Vodka_New York_2009_courtesy the artist

Ellen von Unwerth, Bloody Mary from Absolut Vodka, New York, 2009, courtesy the artist

On the one hand, the exhibition illustrates the various ways in which women are portrayed in advertising. On the other hand, it questions the reciprocal influences of fashion and commercial photography in the creation of aesthetic standards. Furthermore, the exhibition aims to reflect the sociocultural impact of marketing imagery. Over the last decades, the use of a visual language in which female models were depicted in an objectified and provocative way led to a drastic sexualization of the public sphere. To what extent are contemporary portrayals of women still a testimony of the value society assigns to attractiveness? Is the depiction of female qualities as ideals of beauty an ineffable value, or is it an inclination in motion?

4_Hervé Plumet_Campaign for AUDI_2003_courtesy the artist

Hervé Plumet, campaign for AUDI, 2003, courtesy the artist

The exhibition features legendary posters and photographs by renowned artists such as Lillian Bassman, Guy Bourdin, Erwin Blumenfeld, Michel Comte, Patrick Demarchelier, Hans Feurer, Francis Giacobetti, Sarah Hardacre, Horst P. Horst, Frank Horvat, Paul Huf, Peter Lindbergh, Jean Daniel Lorieux, Bernard Matussière, Uwe Ommer, Marino Parisotto, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Michel Perez, Hervé Plumet, Helmut Newton, Regina Relang, Herb Ritts, Franco Rubartelli, Mark Shaw, Jeanloup Sieff, Melvin Sokolsky, Tono Stano, Bert Stern, Karin Székessy, Ellen von Unwerth, and Albert Watson. 

Photography: courtesy of Chaussee 36,


The photographer Sonia Sieff: “Nudity is the nicest piece of clothing.”