Erotic Review Magazine

The art of arousal

3rd October 2014

Answering the call for nuanced, refined, and unashamedly sexy erotica: Nusa Bartol-Bibb investigates

One of the most talked about exhibitions at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, FECK:ART took shape as the area’s emerging artists toiled to answer one question: can art succeed where porn fails: to actually turn us on? Their diverse and dazzling output celebrates ‘beautiful obscenity’ while challenging pornography’s status quo.

Local producers of socially responsible erotica, Feck, are both funding and curating this visual riposte to predictable porn. They invited a panel of art world insiders to select 53 works for the show and put up $5000 of prize money to coax prospective entrants into creative action.

“We thought it would be interesting to fund a competition to see how Melbourne artists make us think and feel about sex”, says Richard Lawrence, founder of Feck, “and whether art can make porn obsolete.”

Amongst  FECK:ART’s gems is the video that scooped the top prize, Jack Darling’s sexily comical Nose Job. It is, according to Darling, “asking us quite seriously to play with what’s presented, what’s predicted and take our expectations out of the equation.”

Click on the first image below to begin slideshow.

AMANDA BRADLEY
Melbourne based Art Director/Graphic Designer/Illustrator with over 10 years experience.

1. Fantasy Perception
Fantasy, Imagination and Perception. We create our own reality with our own imagination. What is real, what is surreal. What turns us on, and what doesn’t turn us on. The image we hold in our minds eye is the key to how we dream of things to be. An exotic fantasy land differs from one mind to another. In the end it doesn’t matter. It is an individual pornographic fantasy perception from one imaginative mind.

How do you think art can succeed where porn fails?
Art can push ones creative mind and imagination to break through the boundaries and limitations on how the mainstream media executes what ‘pornography’ is and what our minds have been been condition to think and believe what pornography is. There are many different channels and executions in art that do not have the boundaries and limitations that pornography has. Art has the ability and flexibility to really push through the pornographic barriers and present something different to the viewer in a creative, unique and imaginative way that mainstream pornography fails to present. Art is in another dimension and it does not have the realistic restrictions that pornography has. Presenting something that is erotically different and surreal that has not ever been seen before can arouse you for the simple reason that it presented in a different light

STEVE MURRAY
Steve Murray is a mixed media photographer and artist, blending medium format photography, ink paintings and body art.

2Wet Dream
Have you ever half woken from the grip of a dream, so submerged by a fantasy that nothing else existed? Wet dream explores that knife edge between reality and those twisted fantasies we all have tangled deep within us.

Why were you drawn to enter work in the FECK:ART competition?
My friend S (who is featured in the piece) told me about the competition about a month ago and we came up with this concept together. I really like the central ethos of the FECK competition that art can succeed where porn fails. It has been a good opportunity to create something surreal that explores a deeper side of fantasy and imagination.

How do you think art can succeed where porn fails?
It is all about imagination for me. Art can stimulate much more imagination, and lead you down a much deeper rabbit hole than the superficiality of most mainstream porn.

TBP
Tom resides in Melbourne and regularly shoots modern female nudes in order to challenge himself in the most primordial of ways. Him aim, as always is to reach his models personalities and put them on show for everyone to see. The intimacy for Tom, which is of utmost importance comes not from the nakedness or the sexual nature of his images but from standing face to face with a human being and asking them to be honest and open with how they represent themselves. It’s in this challenge that Tom finds infinite and often uncomfortable moments of beauty and honest reality that are as he says: ‘Pure Sex’.

3. Oliver, Boy. 2014
She turned up 27 minutes late dripping with sweat and smelling like a man. She was wearing far too many clothes and only one sock.
She asked for a glass of water and some of my deodorant because she liked it better than the smell of girls. She was wearing long black basketball shorts, a black skivvy and a beanie that said ‘boy’. She went to the bathroom with the door open, sat down on the floor removing her shoes and asked what we were doing.
She was sex, all the best parts and she didn’t give a fuck.

How do you think art can succeed where porn fails?
Porn is porn, art is art. Porn fails because it has nothing below the surface. You are not left wondering about the moments, you are not left wanting to know more about the people involved or the situation because it is all there, all explained, all obvious. Women (and possibly at times Men) are powerless and are often portrayed to be so in porn, however in art there is nothing more powerful historically and today than the nude female figure. Humans need more than fleeting visuals, they need images which make them continue on their thoughts and desires in their own heads. This is where art succeeds and porn will always fail.

W.H.
After starting to study a fine arts degree I ended up in commercial photography and specialising in environmental portraiture. I have been working on my own business for over 5 years and still find there is still so much to learn about the portrait. I find the human face and body to be a very strong communication tool, from ideas, social issues, thoughts and emotions all the way to the other side of the spectrum of advertising, design and documentary.

4. Space, Shape and Form
When I was younger I used to participate in weekly life drawing classes, over the last decade charcoal and paper have become something quite foreign while the camera and computer have become as familiar as the back of my hand. This small series which was shot during my transition from one medium into another is a small tribute to those many hours spent in those life drawing classes. I feel they have influenced my photography in many ways.

VIOLA V.
I became a pornographer at 21 years old. My work explores identity in sexuality through the medium of erotica, examining the exploration and reconstruction of personal pleasure into public spectacle. My films, photography and writing deal with the frictions between performance and experience, persona and self, and fiction and confession.

5Dyspnea (video still)
Dyspnea is the documentation of an autoerotic game, played with the desires of my self and my persona. Reconstructing my game of asphyxiation and exhibition is an erotic act in itself.

How do you think art can succeed where porn fails?
I don’t think that porn necessarily fails, but I enjoy the capacity for intellectual stimulation that is more frequently present in art than in porn. The idea of porn as something distinct from art is an opinion I’d like to challenge with my work across erotica and pornography.

 Do you think art can, or should, turn us on?
I think art should turn something on within us, but that something doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual.

CHARLES HORSE and BOBBI MORNINGGLORY
Charles is mainly in the theatre. And comedy. But he likes taking photos of his dick too. Bobbi Morningglory doodles. And has a nanoscience degree.

6Dick Eye
The ‘Dicksaspeople’ tumblr started with an mms of my dick wearing googly eyes. It aroused me to think of her seeing my cock. From there things grew. She became my photographer. We began dressing up my dick. The set ups became more elaborate. It was an exhibitionist’s loop hole. Mixing dick pics with “art”. Some were crude and full of humour. Some were vulnerable and human. The process was fun and erotic. It was exhilarating to reveal this side of myself. To arouse. To shock. To delight.
And to see myself through a different lens.
This is Dick Eye.

JACINTA KEEFE
Jacinta Keefe is a contemporary photographer currently undergoing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne.

7Ethereal Reverence
In my work, I am intrigued by the human body and the human condition. Through this artwork, I sought to show arousal but not just the physicality of it, but the vulnerability that comes with sexual desires. Showing the work for its stark and open representation of what is normally alluded to or regarded as taboo without being too gaudy or pornographic. To do this I tend to focus upon having dark and moody lighting that is also soft in a way that caresses the human body,giving it an alluring feel as if, in that moment everyone else is non-existent.

AMANDA WOLF
Amanda Wolf graduated from the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane with First class Honours in 2013; previously completing a double specialisation in Art Theory and Painting within the Fine Art Undergraduate program in 2012. She has also completed a Diploma of Fine Art, Majoring in Photography and Print Media at the Northern Melbourne Institute of Tafe in 2005.Wolf has exhibited extensively in group shows both nationally and internationally, also undertaking a number of curatorial projects at The Fitzroy Gallery (Vic), Bleeding Heart (Qld) and Circle Gallery (QLD).
In 2014, Wolf has produced three solo exhibitions across Australia, exhibiting in Launceston, Brisbane and Melbourne.

8. Untitled

What themes do you usually explore through your art and why do they interest you?
I am interested in the tension between desire and disgust, notions of control/losing control in association with pleasure.
I am also interested in approaching the sexual and abject body with a sense of humour and play and the way in which these approaches can provoke a viewer to engage with graphic content.

Do you think art can, or should, turn us on?
Good art can turn you on. It is a rare and exciting thing when it does.
Beauty can entice desire.
Colour can evoke taste. Texture can provoke touch.

DAN DROBIK
Dan Drobik is an artist, illustrator and porn enthusiast living and working in Melbourne. He likes to draw immature pop culture riddled messes and has an Honours in Fine Art which he very rarely puts to use.

9.  (Cum) Into My Arms or Feck Me Harder
They asked for art that turns us on.
Sadly the only thing that can get me going is the colourful decapitated head of Nick Cave, speared triclops babies and a knife through the dick. I’m not sure if Art can succeed where porn fails but I’m certain that I can use this failed Art as successful porn.

Do you think art can, or should, turn us on?
Absolutely. I lost my virginity to a Caravaggio.

How do you hope people will react to your entry in FECK:ART?
Hopefully the fact it got included in an art exhibition will fool them into thinking that it’s actually art and not the visual diarrhoea of an immature man-child still caught up in the excitement of drawing sex and genitals.


JACK DARLING
(First Prize Winner)
Jack Darling is a video artist, choreographer and dancer. Jack’s work is often evocative and always playful; reminding the audience that each of us is connected by our inadvertent desire to be free from our own assumptions.

10.   Nose Job
Nose Job invites you to traverse the twists and turns of metaphoric mountains and salacious silhouettes. We kiss, we dance, we take a chance by exploring forms beyond their norms. Nose Job is an erotic comedy asking us quite seriously to play with what’s presented, what’s predicted and take our expectations out of the equation and ravish our big brave bites from the unexpected.

AMANDA WOLF
(For Artist’s bio, see above)

11.   Performance Art

Discussion

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