Sunday, 13 September 2009

ON THE FEMALE BODY AS TRANSGRESSIVE ICON: ARTISTIC INTENTIONS VERSUS CRITICAL RECONTEXTUALISATIONS 10

Dear Prof.Irele,
Thanks.
The more blatant blog I have made unavailable to the public.I have chosen,however,to keep www.exploringdecadence.blogspot.com open to the public as an act of self honesty,rather than pretend that I am "cleaner" than I reallyam,particularly since that blog explores conjunctions between the pornographic and the philosophical and spiritual.The blog is also an expression of the inspiration I receive from the pornographic star Lexington Steele whose words I have placed in the masthead of the blog.Those words embody a self honesty that I find most invigorating.

I have also kept www.vaginarumbles.blogspot.com open beceaus it explores religious and philosophical conceptions of female procreative spaces.It is also inspired by the use of such symbolism in Yoruba orature in evoking the enigmatic power of Iyanla,Earth.Babatunde Lawal's Gelede Spectacle presents this so well.

Hillyer might not want her work seen in such company,even if by association, even though I am discussing her work in a different context.She also most likely objects strongly to having her work being placed in the same context of discourse as Mark Dunn's correlation of the pornographic and the magical.With due respect to Hillyer,though,I wonder how she is able to draw the line between outrage at the female body being so displayed and her own use of a similar iconographic form in her book The Oracle of Nights.As I observed in my response to her,Dunn at least remains within universal conventions in limiting himself to depicting nubile young women while one of her own paintings depicts an old woman in an erotic a pose which it would be difficult to find someone to find attractive,being a correlation of age and the erotic which, as far as I know,is even more taboo than the blatantly erotic image of the young woman.Even the West which is awash with various levels of publicly presented erotica,from advertsing to celebrity dressing,does not demonstrate an aesthetic that embraces the erotica of old women, which Hillyer develops and justifies,with good reason.She has her ideology she is projecting,Dunn has his.Neither of them is in it for entertainment ,per se.They are both feminist creators of innovative spiritualities who want to place the female self and form at the centre of spritual thought and action.
In doing this,Hillyer also evokes an erotic image which appears,in, of all places,English church architecture,which both Dunn and herself appropriate as expressions of the conception of the sacred feminine as manifest in archaic thought and art..Such a sculptural image would be unacceptable in many cultures,not least the African,for example,but she is happily using it.An ancient religious tradition I know of that uses such images is Hindu Tantra,and its a tradition that enables one to understand Hillyer,Dunn,and the verbalisations of similar ideas in Classical Yoruba throught,and their adapation in the sculpture and aesthetic of Susanne Wenger and her team,with the necessary qualifications, as points on a continuum.

I also want to interrogate,if thats the right word, the disdain some women express for the fact of other women using their sexuality in earning a living.As much as its true that a lot of exploitation of such women is taking place,it seems that the complete picture is too complex for such outright disdain to be completely fair.

Pornographic artists ,as far as I know, demonstrate a range of motivations and values,as is evident in a book by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders,who is known,according to Wikipedia,for his "strikingly intimate portraits of world leaders and major cultural figures",a book titled XXX: Thirty Porn Star Portraits,featuring the same porn stars, both fully clothed and fully undressed,along with interviews with them.I found the book very sobering in terms of the revelation of the humanity I share with these people in a transgressive profession,a humanity concealed by the wearing of garments but revealed through the immediacy of naked flesh.I recommend the book highly as a means of opening the mind.A site on it is here:http://www.thinkingxxx.com/ .The relationship between the unbarred body and the stripping of the accrettions of terrestial existence at the time of the Great Transition are not far apart,as demonstrated by Buddhist monks who medate in graveyards to remind themselves of their mortality and the ensuing need for urgency in spiritual practice.

I also suspect that these artists operate in tems of a code of mutual loyalty that would put many people in the more "straightforward"lines of work to shame.To do otherwise would be to open themselves to the risk od death through STDS.

I also think that rather than condemning totally and completely dissociating oneself from prostitution,for example,one should study its aesthetics,its psychology,as many do,and appreciate the points of convergence one shares with the culture of sexual marketing it represents.After all,the prostitute's customers are flesh and blood people who have homes,have conventional jobs etc.

How many peoople can claim that they have never prostituted themselves in one form or another,whether in a sexual sense or otherwsie?

Some of these people who are openly engaging in lifestyles that others do not identify with but many of whom patronise, have more integrity than many others who struggle to maintain a clean image.At the same time,however,it is preferable not to sell oneself,in any form.

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