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October 27th, 2007

[info]accio_arse04:05 am - Seduced: Art and sex from antiquity to now
I just got the catalogue from Seduced: Art and sex from antiquity to now, an exhibition at the Barbican at London.

'The bravest and most intelligent exhibition of the year’ – The Guardian

The focus of the exhibition is the depiction of the sexual act. At first I thought there were some strange omissions, until I realised that erotic nudity, representations of fertility, art about pornography or explorations of gender - art about any of these didn't qualify to be included. So it's an unusual mixture.

I scanned in a few of my favourite pictures. Of course, most of them are much too explicit for photobucket, so I've doctored a few images to blot out genitals etc, because they were too much fun not to post.

My real find of the exhibition were the drawings of Juliao Sarmento, a Portuguese painter. I like the way he suggests without being too explicit. I found it more arousing than a lot of the full-blown images, actually. A bit like looking through a doorway or getting a sudden, suggestive flash.

Licking and Coming, 1995

Fucking and Missing
Dying, 1995

Anna, 2005

(There were others too, but I'm having computer problems.)

Then there were a collection of Greek (Attic) drinking cups, with erotic scenes painted on the bottom in red and black. I've seen roomfuls of these before, in The British Museum and the Louvre. From the catalogue:

"The often 'dry' displays of serried rows of pots in museums effectively neutralize the overtness of the sexual acts... explicit sexual acts were revealed slowly, in a surprising and titillating manner, as the wine was drained."

That was a new way of looking at them for me. Also, I'd never seen one of them with two woman on it before. I think it's quite a rare scene.

Attic red-figure cup, 500BC

There was a large section of Japanese erotic prints from the 18th and 19th centuries, including Hokusai's famous octopus scene. The participants in these had massively overstated genitals, both men and women. Not just large, but hairier and more veined, with every wrinkle and fold lovingly observed and exaggerated. I suuppose it makes sense - if sex is what the picture's about, then make that bit bigger to draw attention. Needless to say, I didn't even try posting these.

The Japanese prints in the catalogue were all M/F (Edit: I was wrong. I just found one of M/M, with a woman watching and masturbating), but one thing that I thought made this exhibition a of fresh air was the inclusion of lots gay and lesbian depictions along with the heterosexual. I liked how that was treated - all just sex, side by side. For example, there was this 18th century painting of Alexander and Hephaestion indulging in some light bumming (baroque slash wahey):

(genitals censored by me to get past Photobucket, I hope)

Or this wonderful Turkish book illustration (look at their cute little hats!), which I've censored again to remove the erections:

from Tuhget Ul-Mulk, 1773

There were some illustrations of French erotic novels (ie porny fanart)

Illustration for Therese philosophe, 1750 (there's an erect cock under that circle)

Illustration for Les Liasons Dangereuses, 1796

Also the usual suspects - Aubrey Beardsley, Klimt and Rodin - but I have books full of their erotic art already. *g*

And there were three wonderful Rembrandt etchings, (eg Het Ledikant which I have seen in real life, in Holland, and still treasure in postcard form. (I also have seen some great etchings of his of people relieving themselves. I love that guy.)

Okay, I wanted to post more, but my Photoshop just crashed for the fifth time (worryingly). I'll leave you with this, which I saw at the Hayward some years ago:

Francis Bacon, Two Figures, 1953

I was going to offer to send anyone who wanted more of the images, the proper ones with shagging in them by email, but seeing how every time I try to get into the image files right now I crash... perhaps later.

Edit: WTF? Photobucket objected to the Bacon? But there were no parts showing at all there! And you could hardly even see the nudity because of the painting technique! Okay, go to see the picture here.

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