Mankind: Versions & Perversions
Exhibition Curated by Edward Lucie-Smith
Artwork © FRANK GABRIEL
Opening: Friday, April 3, 2009, 8:00 - 11:00 PM
Introduction by Edward Lucie-Smith and signing of the new
Tom of Finland XXL - Book (Taschenverlag)
Gianluca Chiodi (Milan), Tobias A. Feltus (Edinburgh),
Robert Flynt (New York),
Frank Gabriel (The Hague), Edward Lucie-Smith (London), Roberto Rincon
Vladimir Tatarevic (Belgrade), Marc Wayland (London), Jonathan Webb (Paris),
and Dimitris Yeros (Athens).
This selection of male imagery is an attempt to break through some
of the stereotypes that now characterize this particular photographic
genre. On the one hand, photographs of the nude or near nude male
are thought of as controversial, because of their homoerotic content,
which contravenes social norms in many cultures. On the other hand,
they are avant-garde in a fashion that doesn’t usually apply
to female nudes. The latter tend to annoy entrenched feminists,
who see them as proof of the theory of the ‘controlling gaze’
– proof of the way in which male scopophilia demeans women.
The rest of the world simply tends to think of them as kitsch, which
is to say as images that may indeed provide erotic stimulation,
but which have little or no presence as artistically intended object.
The link between erotic representation and the idea of avant-gardism
is of course a long established one. Erotic content tends to guarantee
the bold, controversial nature of images that, without this, would
seem tamely unexceptional. In other words, eroticism is the easy
route to shock, and shock and artistic experimentation are now,
at least in the minds of the general public, inseparably joined.
Additionally, where nudes are concerned, naked males have somehow
achieved a position of artistic if not social respectability that
is now for some reason denied to females.
The present, extremely international anthology of photographic images
of the male uses an extremely wide variety of techniques, and shows
how far the term ‘photography’ can now be stretched.
It also demonstrates very different approaches, on the part of individual
photographers, to the same subject matter. Human bodies have been
a central theme for art, and particular for western art, since the
time of the Greeks and the Romans. And for long periods, it was
the male body that preponderated, while representation of women,
clothed or naked, took a very secondary place. This show is intended
to interrogate that tradition, and also to revive it. If anything
in it can be regarded as truly avant-garde, that is an accident
of history. Indeed, if there is anything revolutionary about it,
this can be found in the way it questions many clichés about
the nature of artistic innovation.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday
- Friday, Noon - 8:00 PM · Saturday, Noon
- 6:00 PM.
Eisenacher Str. 6, 10777 Berlin, Germany · Map