Art is one of the professions that encourages greater malleability of identity while allowing get to the bottom of one or yourself more than any other.
Such diverse ways in which female artists, from the 60s, have resorted to autobiography and sexual act as an artistic material, indicate the changing overlaps between art, body, intimacy and performativity before and after the arrival of reality show.
We will jump from bed to bed to see different forms of undoing them, of transforming them into subversive icons of libido shaking or in his remains, in financial exchange or heartbreak metaphors.
Carolee Schneemann‘s words support what their actions and movies pursued, to recover the sacredness of eroticism by readjusting sexual and pictorial gesture: drawing and masturbating are the first sacred experiences I remember; The body can be erotic, desired, desiring, but also votive. In Fuses plumbs the erotic enchantment, energy that melts bodies becomes palpable, her and her partner making love. But the camera is only one more witness, like the cat, whose profile appears intermittently. What makes what is filmed in subjective experience are the scratches, textures and tints printed on celluloid, editing rhythms, blurs and overlays … the treatment of film as intervened canvas, pouring time to act.
Fuses synthesized in 20 minutes the intensity of a passion that lasted three years. Permutations narratives, oscillations between inside and outside room, color filters that dissolve the feminine in the masculine and vice versa, transpositions between the ocean and the emotional streams… Schneemann argued for the Dionysian fusion of body and cosmos, mind and matter. He emancipated women feeling through art, legitimited her own sexuality as a creative motor.
But it is Plumb line, later film, that condenses his vision of art as catharsis, being an exercise of pain exorcism after the break with that same lover. If we take a leap in time and compare it with Tracey Emin emotional purges or frivolous records of heartbreak experienced by Sophie Calle, we appreciate the loss of interest in conveying the feelings involved in the processes of love and heartbreak, and even the evidence that is difficult to believe in the authenticity of an inner passion or primary forces of the body.
The bed of Tracey Emin is pure ready made of remains of her sprees: her rumpled bed with sheets stained with sperm, surrounded by bottles of vodka, cigarette butts, condoms, sleeping pills … After a week of drunkenness, in her mind was activated a firing pin that allowed her wake of that destructive inertia, observe it from a distance and frame it symbolically as artwork.
Art is therapeutic for the British artist, as it was for Schneemann, but Emin no longer conceive it as an inner expression but as a showcase for her dirty threads, museumificated version of sensationalist tabloid.
The emotional distance is even greater in Sophie Calle not only because fictionalizes pieces of her life but because in her projects the confessional always needs external gaze and interpretation of the other. Desire, or lack of it, is inscribed in language. In the video Double blind (1) alternate the viewpoints of the two protagonists, Calle and a former romantic partner with which only has in common the interest in doing this road movie that precisely will confirm this fact, the lack of spark in this relationship. No sex last night is the mantra that female voice repeats every night, resigned, while the visual recording attests of each shared bed hotel. He wonders what the hell is she thinking and she envies the way he admires bodywork car as if it were woman curves. The only romantic snapshots are just overacted cliches.
Respective cameras made the trip possible, because only through them they communicate each other. And that inability to direct communication ensures clinical dissection of the end of a relationship: double blind is the name given to an method to guarantee objectivity in the analysis of a case, in which each participant or witness doesn’t know the statement of the others.
Calle seems to caricature the degree of abstraction that have reached human relationships, which require every time more interpretive filters to recognize themselves. Among the proliferation of emotional control techniques subjected to marketing applications, there is little place for spontaneity.
If personal relationships are mystified so much, what will not make commercial relations. In 2003 Andrea Fraser assumed the role of porn actress, turning her art dealer a pimp and a collector his client. The result can be seen these days in her MACBA retrospective (2), a video in which we see her fucking with the collector who agreed to do it for the camera in return for acquiring the first copy of the same work. Crude metaphor for the art world as a luxurious brothel. Although, who exploited whom?
Double blind is these days in exhibition Sophie Calle: Modus Vivendi, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona, until 07.06.2015
Untitled 2003, in Andrea Fraser. L’1%, c’est moi, MACBA, Barcelona, until 09.2016