Erotic Art Exhibition

The Gallery, Stanhope Street
28th January - 11th February 2011
(For 18's and over!)

Reviewed by Ross O'Toole

Featuring some eye-popping watercolours, kinky sculptures, arty photography-cum-pornography and more willies than your average secondary school textbook, the Erotic Art Exhibition on Stanhope Street is sure to arouse interest, and offers this reviewer plenty of sexual innuendo to work with.

We find ourselves in an age where sex is used mercilessly to promote products. The advertising industry hoped that by associating their products with sex, we might confuse our desires for the opposite sex with everyday inanimate objects. Stranger still - despite all that gyrating, lewd posturing and page three smut - nakedness and sex remain relatively taboo in public space.

The airbrushed perfection that is pursued in the advertising industry appears to be intrinsic within the exhibition itself. This is most apparent within the photography, where the lines between the pornographic and the photographic are blurred. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and as a photographer, the tension between the objective and subjective perception of imagery frames the question - would the photo be so alluring if the model wasn't?

Definition of what separates erotic art from top shelf porno change from time to time, and from place to place. Yet more discussion on the concepts of eroticism and taboo would have offered this exhibit a greater depth. As a result, if you're interested in the highly controversial, I feel you might be somewhat disappointed. The exhibition is limited and unconcerned with engaging the boundaries of taboo, or offering discourse on what sexuality is to different people.

Despite these constraints, the variety of the exhibition is nevertheless thought-provoking and certainly excites the senses. Robert Babylon's fetish photography, for example, employs the use of ultra-violet light and fluorescent lingerie to exaggerate the pleasing curves of the female body - imagine something between Tron and Playboy.

Whereas Babylon's work embraces stylistic beauty, Brigit Jones disregards it, offering an abstract portrayal of the human body - contorted, twisted and suspended in darkness. This is a depiction of the human body as repulsive and alien - a marked contrast to John Stoddart's work, which affords the viewer a voyeuristic peepshow into lives of neatly shaven strippers and call girls garbed in bondage gear.

The rest of the exhibition ranges from the bizarre to the mundane, from the marginal to the busty and from the artistic to the outright sleazy. If you ever fancied a telephone that has a penis for a receiver and is sculptured from wood, you might be pleased to know that one could be yours for only six hundred quid.

In summery then, whether fine art or filthy art, the exhibition is both contemporary and commendable - well worth the stroll from Liverpool One.

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