When shoes are mirrors


This summer, my boots took me for a walk around London Soho when, suddenly, a colourful window caught my eye.

Inside were bright objects that came in surprising forms and materials and that where aesthetically arranged. ‘Didn’t knew exactly what it was, but it was intriguing and funny so I had to go in.

pig shoe 1s

baby stil 3

gold nail LA1

shell rock3

It was actually artist Anne Tilby’s Tortured Soles. Clever pun for a clever metaphor about how we, women, try to squeeze everyday the impossible into the everyday, trying to achieve things that, deep down, we know are unfeasible, unfitting, unrealistic, uncomfortable and, indeed, just plain stupid and that work against ourselves. Most of them related to our appearance and how we are expected to behave and be.

blonde shoe1s

godzilla s

gretas iron

julian shoe o

marilyn candle s

shell turqs

As she did before in her ’80s,Prêt a Porter: Prêt a Manger series about female diet obsession and how women relate to food, Anne was delivering a statement about our society and how the XX-gene bearers are often not only accepting but also the guardians of traditions that do not work in their favour.






Tortured Soles looks playful but also reflects on how high heels have become a very sophisticated and stylish masochistic torture device that we inflict on ourselves for no reason. At least, none that makes any sense. The best part of it is how Anne makes it apparent just by the use of humour, irony, surprise and craft: she doesn’t need to shout in your face – rather she lets you contemplate her wondrously constructed surreal artefacts and shake your head at their impossibility, so it may dawn on you a bit later that regular high-heel shoes are quite impossible in themselves. They might be beautiful to look at, but they hinder the task for which they were created absurdly, damaging our health in the way to boot.

nail fur 1a
red bootie s

But oh, they are so cute… and supposedly us too when we wear them, or rather – we feel sexy and powerful… or so we were made to believe. On the less sexy side, there are things like stabbing pain, bunions and the corrective foot surgery as a direct result. The Washington Post summarized some of the main ones in here.


Anne Tilby herself

Anne’s revenge on this alienation is both informed and roguish, as you can tell from the video on her series. If you feel like playing along:

Should you want to get to know more about Tortured Soles, current exhibition places and schedules or Anne Tilby herself visit:

One Response to “When shoes are mirrors”

  1. jajajajaja, ¡¡¡hay algunos qué no me los puedo creer!!! me ha encantado el post!! gracias por compartirlo!

    ¡¡y gracias por tu comentario!!
    Besos rojos por doquier ;)

    pd: debería tener pinterest, ¿verdad? jaja, pero es que siento que no me da la vida con tanta red y en ella me da que me quedaría horas…jajajajaa

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