Porn in the focus of art

05. März 2010 von Matthias Planitzer
Still from "Me and my girlfriend", © Fernando Sanchez Hey, du wunderst dich, warum das hier alles auf Englisch steht? Dann lies die deutsche Version! The question about the difference between pornography and art is probably as old as pornography self. And is certainly not nearly to get clarified - provided we nowadays even care about it. Whether porn represents an unique art form is not what I am interested right now, it seems much more interesting to me, how artists deal with porn in their works, how they consciently use it and make it as a focal topic of their pieces. One of these artists is Fernando Sanchez, being already notable for his other works, who made pornography a subject of his piece "Me and my girlfriend" in a felicitous way. (Oh - and who would've thought it? -, it's going to get even more full-frontal after the click.)
Fernando Sanchez: Ausschnitt aus "Me and my girlfriend"Still from „Me and my girlfriend“, © Fernando Sanchez

The question about the difference between pornography and art is probably as old as pornography self. And is certainly not nearly to get clarified – provided we nowadays even care about it. Whether porn represents an unique art form is not what I am interested right now, it seems much more interesting to me, how artists deal with porn in their works, how they consciently use it and make it as a focal topic of their pieces.

One of these artists is Fernando Sanchez, being already notable for his other works, who made pornography a subject of his piece „Me and my girlfriend“ in a felicitous way.

(Oh – and who would’ve thought it? -, it’s going to get even more full-frontal after the click.)

Fernando Sanchez: Ausschnitt aus "Me and my girlfriend"Still from „Me and my girlfriend“, © Fernando Sanchez

Pornography rests on a certain fondness for voyeurism: watch and hug the wall. Camera offer the advantage that one can be unnoticeably present without actually being personally there. The viewer is only passively involved. But what if he becomes part of it against any expectations?

Perhaps, this was what Fernando Sanchez thought as he collected bits of amateur porn scenes where the actors watch directly in the camera and in that way, establish a connection with the viewer. Sanchez collect a fistful of such scenes and arranged them in the eight minute lasting video „Me and my girlfriend„. The viewer feels somewhat confronted with this unexpected situation, now it is him who is watched, it is him who is caught in an intimate, somewhat embarrassing moment.

Furthermore, these scenes tell something about the taped couples, too. Many of the actors seem to be concerned of something (Am I good enough? Am I in the shot?), some even to be preoccupied in thoughts. Some seem to be anxious about who is watching, others appear patently dull. A metaphor for the porn industry? The allegory of the sad clown?

It is an allusion on the growing market of pornography, too. US-american companies make 13 billion dollars per year, that is one percent of the USA’s gross domestic product. Porn already is established, the consumer doesn’t think about it as much as about his favourite yogurt. As a consequence, the viewer adopts a certain attitude of consumption and degrades to a mere recipient; the relation gets strictly unilateral.

In „Me and my girlfriend“, this principle is reversed into its opposite: The amateur actors, who have no financial interest, challenge the viewer to overcome his consumer behaviour and – if even for a brief moment – to reflect the situation. Suddenly the product opposes the consumer, causes confusion and is certainly a complete surprise. It forces the viewer to do something, he does not want to do: contemplation.

 

On balance, scenes such as in „Me and my girlfriend“ surely spoil every porn experience…

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