Dafne Salis

Italy/UK, London – Photography

Homage to the mother, 2014

Editions of 3 + 1 poa

Digitalised large format b/w film and foetal scans, ink-jet printed on fine art paper, mounted on aluminium

110 x 80×3 cm


Dafne’s research explores the gaze looking at female-cis-heterosexual body in terms of inherited culture and tradition. ‘Homage to the mother’ represents a lost paradise: the magical, fleeting moment when the mother and the child inhabit the same space. The archetypical cohabitation describes the compel for the simultaneous. The two presences (the mother and the child) are both essential for the paradise to exist.

Vaginographies, series, 2018

Editions of 5 + 1 poa

Digital positive b/w film, On request, framed into a custom lightbox which can accomodate one, three or five frames.

5 x 5 cm each

Two mounted diapositives £720 / Three mounted diapositives £860

Vaginographies is a generativity scene taken from the vagina looking at the newborn child. The picture of this baby is made with a costume built pinhole camera which exploits the darkness of the vagina for the picture to be taken. The vagina becomes an eye which looks outside. Utilizing the body to actively generate an image, not only reinforces the idea of the vagina as a room for generation, but also reverses the traditional, patriarchal gaze which demands female bodily parts to be passive and looked at.

Vaginographies as part of K(h)or(a)è Installation. Royal College of Art, 2018.

Salis’ body and those closest to the artist are the pinpoints of the research which has a starting point in the personal relations within the family. As following the motto personal is political, – or private is political – she is on a challenge to collect visual evidence of what visible is not: the impossible-to-see vagina, the private house and affections, the experience of motherhood.

Salis’ practice disputes female essentialism within images, moving from symbolism to anatomy to myth and familiar configurations. The methods of Salis’ practice involve the use of puns or demystification to solicit plural understandings of her positions.

Artist’s Bio

Dafne Salis is an Italian artist based in Rome, whose practice moves its steps as an enquiry on the female body. Salis graduated from the London College of Communication in 2012 and received her MA at the Royal College of Art, awarded with distinction on her thesis.
After graduating in 2012, Salis has been working since then in the visual art field, both as an artist and as a freelance photographer. She founded Skin&Blister Collective in 2014 and was part of the Salis/Gut duo from 2013 till 2017. She is currently PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, researching on gazing at women’s sexual organ.