The Porn Identity, Expeditions into the Dark Zone / Exhibition at the Kunsthalle Vienna





Kunsthalle Vienna



The Porn Identity
Expeditions into the Dark Zone

Exhibition: 13 February – 1 June 2009


In the shadow of the stale glamour of porn Oscars and the objectivizing, immanently violent grasp on (mostly female) orifices, “post-pornographic” counter images have recently begun to be mobilized against sexism and heteronormative screw reviews. While the producers active in the rampant Internet, indie and alternative porn scenes are concerned with self-determined desires, obstinate aesthetics, and headstrong identity policies, artists dedicate themselves to phenomena such as voyeurism, stimulation, transgression, sexual orders of space, gender constructions, and the relationship between power, gaze, and the body.


Eon McKai


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Eon McKai,
Still aus/from: Eastside Story (2007),
R: Vena Virago, Courtesy Vivid Alt


In the shadow of the stale glamour of porn Oscars and the objectivizing, immanently violent grasp on (mostly female) orifices, “post-pornographic” counter images have recently begun to be mobilized against sexism and heteronormative screw reviews. While the producers active in the rampant Internet, indie and alternative porn scenes are concerned with self-determined desires, obstinate aesthetics, and headstrong identity policies, artists dedicate themselves to phenomena such as voyeurism, stimulation, transgression, sexual orders of space, gender constructions, and the relationship between power, gaze, and the body.

The exhibition The Porn Identity confronts the proliferation of pornography with motion pictures, sculptures, and installation works reflecting sexual desire. The transfer of indecent pictures into the art institutional space not only transcends the porn-typical context of market-oriented publication and reprivitized consumption, but also questions the similarities and differences between art and the visual culture of stimulation through the attendant complication of the pornographic identity.

The tour through the exhibition branches out into mixed woodlands of images revealing a variety of subterranean connections. Artfully wrested from moving images, the avant-garde filmmaker Martin Arnold’s body and mime studies on the unconscious oedipal horror of the Hollywood cinema, for example, relate to a video about masking faces by Terence Koh or a US soap powder company’s suppression that had made the porn actress Marilyn Chambers of all people the star of its promotion campaign. It was her scandalous movie Behind the Green Door that inspired Johannes Wohnseifer to develop his installation of a green door behind which the typically pornographic interplay between concealment and revelation, taboo and transgression can be continued.


Louisa Achille


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Louisa Achille,
still aus/from: The Naked Feminist, 2003
© die Künstlerin / the artist

Katrina Daschner


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Katrina Daschner,
Dolores (Edwarda Gurrola), Setfoto, 2005,
Courtesy die Künstlerin/the artist


Besides explorations of the repressive relationship between power, gaze, and the body (such as in a work by John Miller on the variety of sexual relations, William E. Jones’ adaptation of a 1962 police surveillance video showing homosexual encounters in a toilet, or Katrina Daschner’s lesbian-feminist appropriation of the Lolita story), some conceptual works’ pivots reveal a purposely indirect handling of the erotic charge of materials and objects. This holds true for Tom Burr’s black stable sculptures, the polished minimalist “powerless” architecture of Elmgreen & Dragset’s Queer Bar, or Tatiana Trouvé’s oppressive, subtle references to fetishism in her sculpture Totem.

These works’ tendency toward aesthetic abstraction is not only opposed to the objective of utmost pseudo-documentary visibility in the standard commercial pornographic phantasm but also to the manifold fictions enacted in the alternative porn filmmaker Eon McKai’s movies with their Punk, Gothic and Industrial clichés, the garishly blackhumor agit-pornprop dramas by Bruce LaBruce, Tobaron Waxman’s self-reflective sadomasochist scenes, and Panik Qulture’s anarchic gender farces featuring heftily employed dildos. Thus, the common definition of pornography as the depiction of sexual acts with the sole intention of stimulating the viewer does not seem adequate any more toward the end of the tour, where the indefatigable pornographic repetition compulsion in form of a video installation of porn scenes arranged by color keeps joggling. It is not always art, but is it still porn?


List of artists:

Louisa Achille, Nic Andrews, Joanna Angel, Kenneth Anger, Fernando Arias, Martin Arnold, James Avalon, Belladonna, Andrew Blake, Monica Bonvicini, Angela Bulloch, Tom Burr, Ellen Cantor, Marilyn Chambers, T. Arthur Cottam, Gerard Damiano, Gregory Dark, Katrina Daschner, Nathalie Djurberg, Marcel Duchamp, Elmgreen & Dragset, Jean Genet, Sachiko Hanai, Marlene Haring, Jenna Jameson, Ron Jeremy, William E. Jones, Richard Kern, Edward Kienholz & Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Terence Koh, Stanley Kubrick, Bruce LaBruce, Michael Laub & Dean Proctor, Joseph Maida, Dorit Margreiter, Dona Ann McAdams, Eon McKai, Olaf Metzel, John Miller, Jim & Artie Mitchell, Robert Müller, Richard Prince, Panik Qulture, Rinse Dream, Iwata Roku, Doug Sakmann, Carolee Schneemann, Rocco Siffredi, Snoop Dogg, Hito Steyerl, Paul Thomas, Tatiana Trouvé, Tobaron Waxman, Lawrence Weiner, Octavio Winkytiki, Johannes Wohnseifer, Tseng Yu-Chin, Nick Zedd, Jack the Zipper


Edward Kienholz und Nancy Reddin Kienholz


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Edward Kienholz und Nancy Reddin Kienholz,
The Bronze Pinball Machine with Woman Affixed Also, 1980, Courtesy Berlinische Galerie – Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
© Foto: Nancy Reddin Kienholz + Bruce LaBruce, Skin Gang, 1

Exhibition view


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Exhibition view:
Tom Burr, Put Out, 2003, Courtesy Galerie NEU, Berlin + Terence Koh, still aus: 4′ 27”, 2006, Courtesy Peres Projects, Berlin/Los Angeles
© Foto: Stephan Wyckoff; Kunsthalle Wien, 2009


Exhibition catalogue:

Accompanying the exhibition, the reader The Porn Identity. Expeditionen in die Dunkelzone will be published by Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg. The volume contains a number of work-related and more general texts by Thomas Ballhausen, Thomas Edlinger, Linda Hentschel, Ramón Reichert, Angela Stief, Florian Waldvogel, and Katherina Zakrawsky. German, 216 pages, numerous color and b/w illustrations. ISBN 978-3-941185-10-4, 25.– euros.


    Kunsthalle Wien
    Images © Alle Rechte vorbehalten.




Links


Stampfli & Turci – Fine Art Dealers


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~ by Stampfli & Turci on March 26, 2009.

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