stark - le bastart

From Aretino to Stark, pornography serving a critical art

Originally, pornography was an artistic genre used by heretics and revolutionaries, political dissidents and freethinkers. During the French Revolution, depravity was equated with corruption in the erotic imagination of poets and artists committed to harassing the Old Regime: to show monarchs being sodomized or fellating the servants, to reveal the impotence of ones and the promiscuity of others, in short, to make public the goings of royal bedchamber, contributed to the collapse of hierarchies and privileges.

Pietro Aretino. Sonetti Lussuriosi
Pietro Aretino. Sonetti Lussuriosi

The obscene is something that, having to keep it private, is made public. Renaissance poet Pietro Aretino, considered the first pornographer in History, owes its merit to dare to disclose private perversions of clergy and aristocrats (although, never without giving up favors of priests and courtiers). His satirical dialogues reached the masses, and therein lies the outrageous, to popularize what was reserved for an elite.

Aretino opened several paths for the future of pornography: if on the one hand attacked the monastic perversions, on the other he claimed the naturalness of sex and desire, undermining the humanistic prudishness of his time. Even, he had the wit to paraphrase poems of Ovid misrepresenting its contents.

STARK. Los groseros

Political subversion making use of porn aesthetic is still being censured nowadays, and the worst is that the veto doesn’t comes from offended elite but the mob itself. Social networks has not only democratized culture but also censorship; paradoxes of human absurdity.

A painting of Aznar jerking off did not last long on STARK facebook page, author of this and other works refering to politicians and media scandals gathered under the heading Los groseros.

With a refined technique, which in a way is heir of Gerhard Richter and Luc Tuymans ones, inspiring as them from photographic sources (press photos, porn magazines, film frames …), it stands apart from these predecessors because he disrupts intellectual distance that the high art interposes to the represented object.


He combines the literality of the foreground with diluted touches that refer perhaps gaps of memory or subterfuges of the collective unconscious. Abstract brushstrokes and explicit sex, rapes, kidnappings and political fraud, all stirred in the same cocktail of bitter aftertaste.

As Aretino and his paraphrases of the classics in a risqué way, Stark also makes use of high culture with irreverent humor, refocusing social taboos by nod to the aesthetics blur (unfocused) that Richter made fashionable.


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