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Sang Bleu’s Valentines day special

14 February 2014

Author : reba

To celebrate Valentines day Sang Bleu contributors have shared their favourite pieces of art about love or sex.

Dan Colen

Jamie Jelinski:

Dan Colen and Nate Lowman, Untitled (Xaviera Hollander), 2008

Named after infamous call girl Xaviera Hollander, author of “The Happy Hooker: My Own Story,” this collaborative work by New York-based artists Dan Colen and Nate Lowman maintains the sexual undertones that has come to characterize much of the two artists’ output. Reflecting Colen’s lipstick painting series, this work is overtly sexual, with a phallic-shaped lipstick being applied to a pair of faceless red lips. Of the text surrounding the image, one notes a fraction of a larger sentence – “…I hurriedly stripped and met him at the door.” What appears to be a reproduction of a newspaper or book – albeit on a larger scale – this work draws attention to the relationship between the sexes, how sex is produced, perceived and received in popular culture, and who can speak on behalf of women and women’s issues.

Seraphinianus sex

Julia Silverman:

Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus 1981.

This is a page from the Italian artist Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus, which is basically an encyclopedia of sorts, written in an indecipherable language, about a bizarre alien world and its inhabitants. This is a bit of a strange pick for Valentine’s Day… the image is completely devoid of love or eroticism, instead depicting an alien sexual procedure in which two bodies begin in a rigid sexual stance and fuse into one alligator. I suppose the image plays off the trope that sex fuses two bodies into one, and perhaps transforms them, together, into something new, but this image pushes the boundaries of love and sex’s representation far past the romantic and straight into weird.


Joseph Delaney:

The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai.

Part of the Edo period’s ukiyo-e (picture of the floating world) genre which was born out of a newly wealthy merchant class who for the first time found themselves as the unlikely benificiaries of the rapidly developing metropolis that is now Tokyo. The society was so rigidly structured within the boundaries of the city that everyone from merchants to samurais and monks would float downstream to the pleasure quarters and engage in all manner of hedonistic debauchery. The ukiyo-e as were so representative of this mentality where an artist like Hokusai, known for probably the most well known Japanese artwork The Great Wave Off Kanagawa from his series 36 View of Mount Fuji, produced these amazing, could also produce these graphic depictions of zoophilia.


Jeanne-Salomé Rochat:

Lawrence Wiener, Placed On The Tip Of A Wave Exhibition, 2009

Red Dress

Ivgheny Kosthin:

Nobuyoshi Araki – Woman seated (Red Dress), 2011

“Not favourite one, but just fine for 14.02.14. Red color, ropes and a dinosaur in an unknown location. It’s cheap, simple and facetiously. And provokes me in very different ways.”

Box Seats at the theatre

Maxime Buchi:

Felix Vallotton, Box Seats at the Theatre, the Gentleman and the Lady 1909

The reason that I love this painting is because it says so much without saying anything at all. There is a density to it which is pretty impenetrable. The couple are looking down on you and almost involving you into their situation without you getting to know anything about them. Simultaneously the painting is filled with so much space, its almost minimal but then you have these two small faces intensely looking at you.


Reba Maybury:

Marcel Duchamp, Wedge of Chastity 1954

I have always found this sculpture uncomfortably satisfying in how alien but familiar it is. Made from plaster and dental plastic, the work looks like a tooth set in gum and each part of the sculpture has connotations of having male and female parts. The way they fit into one another feels so perfect but also quite repulsive. There is something really quite horrible about those two materials merging into one another, one fleshy and organic and the other utterly brutal and manmade. The situation that Duchamp has created makes intercourse look impossible and unpleasant but also unnervingly inviting. Duchamp originally made the piece for his wife where he later explained: ‘It was my wedding present to her… We usually take it with us, like a wedding ring.’.

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