Across her work in sculpture, photography, installation, and performance, Julie Rrap interrogates common symbols of femininity. Her somewhat disquieting work points to the idea of gender as a performance — one that is sometimes painful and uncomfortable to execute. Well-heeled feet are at the focus of many of Rrap’s works, such as her sculpture Stepping Out, which features a pair of severed women’s feet that have grown fleshy heels like a sort of impractical evolutionary mechanism. The piece hints at the pressure women face to modify their bodies to fit impossible beauty standards.
In a photo piece called Walking on Water, Rrap dons high heels made out of ice. While the frozen shoes evoke supreme discomfort, her performance Loaded flips their meaning. For this work, she wore heels made out of frozen pigment and painted with her feet as the shoes melted, turning her footwear from cumbersome fetish object to functional artistic tool. Rrap began her career as a performance artist in the 1970s and continues to exhibit internationally. Take a look at some of her recent work below.