Agnes Janich

Review 3

Art at and over the edge,

Oystein Hague,

Bergens Tidende,


Desire, an international group exhibition curated by Eli Okkenhaug at the Bergen Art Museum.

What you never knew you wanted to know about art and lust

An asshole's really nothing but end of the intestinal system, this explanation caused several notches to the Friends of the Museum society while they were on tour with some of the 30 artists in the exhibition Desire. Marit Victoria Wulff Andreassen wouldn't say much about the aesthetic form or her drawings other than they gave a close-up of sexuality more ambiguous than the one we usually know. It was the picture Promotion, a beautifully drawn butt hole that triggered the comic Freudian slip.  

The exhibit being a showcase of contemporary artists is introduced by curator Eli Okkenhaug as motivated by the return of sexual prejudice she observed in society lately.

The exhibition includes several works talking about sexuality's contradictions. It also touches on the cynicism of our generation where society manifests itself by overtly-erotic sexy advertising and easy pornographic entertainment. There are the easy works that will certainly disrupt many who think they have a high taste of art and correct moral values. Still, the works aren't pornographic. There are also more philosophical pictures, quiet and intimate.

Bordello is a video work by the Turkish performance artist Sukran Moral. It talks about selling oneself, not only as a woman, but also as an artist. It is filmed in one of Istanbul's brothels, but it's logo is replaced with the sign Museum. Everything else alludes to the prostitute's trade: the artist is wearing black mesh stockings and high heels. The camera registers men, both crude and gentle, scrambling outside the brothel. The situation is highly symbolic. We can conclude that all of us, both men and women tread in transactions, both emotional and economic, that we haven't yet mastered.

American Laurel Nakadate is even more uncompromising when, in the series Little Exorcism, she equipped with a camera, she drops in on shy, middle-aged men in order to record a relationship through playing out each other’s fantasies. It all could have easily slipped into pure assault if the camera did not function as a kind of disciplinary device.

Leigh Cores, also of the US. uses the medium of film to document the intimate relationship with his mother. As a young man, he got an amateur porn movie a gift from his mother. In The Gift acknowledge this gift when he poses, dressed as her, in the same situations as the women in the movies, often with himself as a partner.

This is for me the most impossible work in this Exhibition, but also a topic to ponder when I, a mate approached by the lust-circuit out there and out of control strive to exceed the normal. Vulgar and wonderful.
0ystein Hague

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