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…