“When we get too close to the desired object, erotic fascination turns into disgust at the Real of the bare flesh.”
~ Slavoj Žižek
2014-ongoing (printed in 2017)
4 pigment prints on Hahnemühle cotton rag, framed, museum glass
Each 48cm x 66cm
Edition of 6 + 2 AP
Still frames from partially downloaded BitTorrent porn movies.
Images of the female body are so prevalent in Western art that the female nude, particularly the reclining nude, has come to connate Western art and culture. However, the representation of the female body—and through it female sexuality—has largely been a male pursuit. Given my interest in the Web and born-digital content, pornography was the obvious medium for me to gravitate towards in order to examine the reclining nude and the infinite nuances she represents. Pornography is one of the most vexed aspects of online culture; seen by some as degrading and misogynistic, and by others as liberating. This is a debate I don’t wish to address; rather, I am interested in examining what is ostensibly an ideological impossibility—the portrayal, by a male artist, of the radical and raw beauty of the female body that doesn’t contribute to the sexual objectification of women. Pornography might seem like an odd medium; however, my intention was to depict women in control of their sexuality and behaviour, and not defined by it, as the reclining nude—the words alone conjure up a vision of voluptuous femininity, soft fabric, and downturned eyes—deprived women of this right. Whether this is the case with pornography or not, I don’t know; but I like the idea of contributing to a constructive sexual debate. If anything, I think this project shows that reclaiming sexualised images of women and re-contextualising them as feminist empowerment offers no real alternative to patriarchal portraiture; yet, doing nothing is not an option. I’m philosophically obsessed with the Absurd—the fundamental disharmony between our search for meaning and the meaninglessness of the universe—so I enjoy examining lose-lose paradoxes like this.
The Lonely Nymph
Lodged Interior Scroll
The Origin of Hell