Lubricants and Literature, really the only thing about this exhibition I truly enjoyed was the fact the room was all pink. Which is sad because at first glance I really wanted to like it. The title is a reasonably accurate description about what the exhibit entails; poems about gay sex in the upper room and downstairs a narrated, virtual construction video of what seemed to be a weird naked therapy / spa / surgery / party mansion. Literally so bazaar!
The upper room.
It has obviously been designed a certain way, consciously or unconsciously, to be striking but not initially so: e.g. having a pretty pink light with books hanging simply, in a non cluttered clean-cut space, with candles [I assume a reference to the poetry theme, a past era of beautifully spoken words], yet the poems (stunningly written) are extremely graphic and dirty, for use of a better word. Perhaps this shouldn’t be so striking in our ‘modern’ society? I’m not sure, in my household it is definitely a topic that wouldn’t be discussed, and when anything sort of related to sex is mentioned seriously, it’s always accompanied with degree of toe curling. Yet we are confronted by it everyday, on the television, in advertisements, on the internet etc… Maybe we shouldn’t be so conservative or maybe some things should stay private, I don’t have the answer.
The space was set up in such a strange way that upstairs there was hardly any connection with you, the room and the subject, unless you chose to interact by picking up one of the books where you can read the poems. Whereas downstairs was a small room with nothing but 2 benches and a medium-sized television playing the documentary styled virtual construction, so you really had no option but to be confronted by the film.
A more abrupt approach to the topic. Loudly telling a story / description of this really strange temple of lubricants I guess. It was just so weird. I suppose in two respects: firstly, the animation of this strange mansion with designated rooms for various activities I could have never imagined (and didn’t particularly want to in some ways) wouldn’t really mean much without the narration, the mansion was totally empty of people, and you were practically forced to imagine the rest from the commentary; secondly, the film had a steady flow to the camera (angled as if you were looking through your eyes) constantly spanning each room like you would when viewing a house, steady and smooth movement, never pausing always flowing, just made you sort of on edge and creepy.
There was quite a big theme of pink, which is expected to some degree; as whilst carrying out colour research for my project many theorist say it gives off sensual undertones and creates a relaxed feeling; however this is usually talking about bright deep pinks, as opposed to the soft baby pink lighting created in this exhibition. Also I find the contrast that has arisen from the two similar yet entirely different and (now I take the time to think about it) quite isolated rooms.
Though I didn’t particularly like this exhibition because it was super weird, this is sort of what I would like to bring to my current piece of work. The element of surprise but in a more comfortable setting. Taking things that are shocking / appalling and using pink to deliver them in a happy, cute, harmless manner; almost like the upper room. Although I would like my work to be more understandable and less hidden. I feel this was a useful exhibition in helping me look at a different way of presenting shocking text. But it was really pretty looking!