The International Women's Erotic Art Competition 2014
Stumbling Block by Mitra Saboury
Mitra Saboury plays out an intimate and evocative interaction with the urban landscape. In the winning vignette, one of four parts of the work, we witness how her moist and fleshy tongue erotically licks a gritty crack in the ground, while the artist's face is pressed against the mottled pavement. We watch the encounter between the objects, at once arousing and disgusting as the tongue tastes and tests the texture beneath. Saboury explores the impact of the urban environment on the human body. As the work was made in London, the artist reflects the fascination we have with our urban environment, the often vain relationship Londoner's have with the city, coupled with the harsh and gritty reality of living in one of the most oversubscribed places in the world. - Lana Bountakidou
M. Saboury's work made me shriek out loud when I first encountered it. Just surprise. I was intellectualizing initially about how the crack must taste and feel. I decided it alienated me, the idea of licking...was it a road? Licking something or someone that shouldn't be licked. A kind of polymorphous perversion except not perverse exactly. Unsettling. Polymorphously unsettling. Taking us back to when the mouth is the first organ of exploration. What do you taste like?
But then, as I watched, the beauty of the tongue, the sensuality of the acting mouth made this... pavement or wall, what was it? Made this wrong object gorgeous. The lips and tongue persuading me that I wanted to lick the surface too, myself. Taste a city. Turn a city on.
That's quite a journey for an artist to have taken me on in the space of about a minute. And it made me laugh too, amused me. I love art that helps me celebrate playfulness. The power of the work to influence me so much in such a short space of time made me want to honour it as a winner. - Dr Josie Pearse
Mitra Saboury's playful Stumbling Block is physically provocative, erotic, engaging. Immediately, this work draws attention to our relationship with the city, and its architecture.
The first of four films shows a tongue licking gaps in slabs of marble, gently caressing the cold and dirty stone. The act is lewd and dirty, and the uncleanliness of the action quite base, even though the erotic nature is harmless, and is only between her as artist/subject, and the inanimate object of the pavement. Seeing the work in the context of a public space is a point of interest, with the erotic action being familiar to most in a private sphere, and she teases out this tension very successfully, creating a very alert audience.
Each of four video phases explore the relationship between bodies and architecture. What I like about Saboury's work is how she demonstrates the very personal relationship that people can develop with cities, and the very personal way in which people inhabit and navigate them. We create very personal memories in spaces which are thought of as very public and these feelings are be projected onto the cityscape and architecture we are surrounded by.
As we watch the videos these ideas are emphasized as actions become very sexualized and erotic: the artist caresses masonary, fingering the brickworks and delving her hand into crater-like gaps in the road. - Alexandra Warder
Very Highly Commended
Forget everything, but don't forget about me by Marie Jacotey
Looking closely at Marie's drawing, the delicacy of the pencil work was the first thing that I noticed. Such gorgeous drawing juxtaposed with heart-wrenching words. I love graphic novels, the indie kind, so the work immediately appealed to me on that level. But the drawing is really special, I feel. The erotic pull is complex in this piece. The woman's pose, her legs spread, of course, yes. But the sentiment? Is it desperation or sex that I smell? I mean it. I think this work evokes smell, evokes body. It's raw on so many levels. - Dr Josie Pearse
Drawing is at the centre of Marie Jacotey's practice. She works quickly, drawing inspiration from the world around her, including from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Jacotey captions her postcard-sized images with unrelated slogans such as Forget everything, but don't forget about me to create an evocative narrative for the image to exist within. Using compositional techniques which often isolate the female figure within the picture plane, she alludes to the dynamics of human relationships. Her drawings are at once romantic, melancholy, erotic, humorous and highly illustrative, which makes her work stand out amongst her contemporaries. - Lana Bountakidou
Marie's drawing flirts with the erotic as it is defined by popular culture. She works from her imagination but takes inspiration from observation of how people portray themselves online, and how they carve their identities through the use of technology.
The interesting point for me here is how female sexuality, and the idea of what is erotic, is formed through copying and re-imagining as seen on leading platforms such as fashion magazines, advertising and so on, many of the poses and characters which Marie uses seem familiar and parody this.
The effect is tender and generous. The wilfully illustrative nature of her work, is like a fairy tale is to a novel. The figures which you feel that you recognise are distant and ubiquitous, allowing space for the viewer to empathise and relate to them.
Her use of language is very poetical, and is an interesting counterpoint to her drawing work. It at times, it can be aggressive and jarring, but it speaks with clarity and strength and is an intimate way to connect with the viewer: "Forget everything but don't forget about me." - Alexandra Warder.
Judges Special Mentions
Girl Having A Dream by Hattie Batten
Looking closely at Hattie Batten's work, I find the questions it asks sit subtly in the the contrasts the artist presents. The delicate pencil drawing of the known woman makes her seem somehow less substantial than the invading Beast who, along with the lamp shining a light on the subject, is textured. The oil pastel gives form and depth to a monstrous invasion now illuminated for us all and yet retains a kind of unformed, Wild-Thing quality in his claws. Batten thereby makes the erotic pull more complex than familiar.
Is this Monster quite grown? In Ingres the lute player, which Batten's monster has replaced, is a slave giving pleasure to a woman kept for pleasure. So, is this monster a slave? Or does the nature of exoticism and slavery invade the subject's dreams? Something lives and makes her whole as she sleeps, whatever she feels about it. The embodied monster in her psyche could be a medieval demon on the page of an illuminated manuscript. - Dr. Josie Pearse
Undone by Lisa Snook
The two works, among others, submitted by Lisa Snook, titled Rabbit (with Meret on my mind) and Undone, illustrate the artist's interest in the subversion of the functionality of everyday objects and prescriptive gender stereotypes. In the sculptural piece Rabbit, the white fur, which covers the vibrator, accentuates the eroticised form of the male member and strengthens the fetishistic qualities of this material while the object itself is stripped of its function. The title of the work references the Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim and his modernist masterpiece Object, an ordinary cup and saucer wrapped in gazelle fur. Both the cup and saucer in Oppenheim's work and the vibrator in Snook's assume a symbolic function. These everyday objects are imbued with a personal or intimate desire, in Snook's case an erotic one. Her other work Undone, a silk Victorian handkerchief with an open zip stitched down its middle, hints at female genitalia, uncomfortably clashing femininity and masculinity through her use of materials. By presenting this work as a relic or artefact, coupled with the artist's fascination with stranger's belongings, Snook resurrects forgotten memories and imbues the objects with her own experiences. These two works deserve a special mention because they present a contemporary perspective on our highly sexualised society, humorously portraying our obsession with sex and sexual orientation. - Lana Bountakidou
Maria, Colombia by Linda Troeller
"Linda Troeller embodies Maria's experience within this sexually evocative photograph, which was chosen as a judges favorite in the "Womens Erotic Art Exhibition 2014". She has captured Maria's sensual feeling of paintbrushes on her body as she creates her own unique journey to Orgasm. The shot is close-up filling the whole of one's field of view; so much so that Maria's head disappears above us. This leaves us with the feeling that we are almost there sharing Maria's experience.
This image is part of a series of photographs and interviews undertaken with the ethnographer Marion Schneider entitled Orgasm: involving women of different ages, nationalities, cultural and sexual backgrounds.
I was touched by Linda's sensitive way of working with these women, accomplished in the approach that she used to gain their trust and confidence before being photographed: for example, she used the experience of shopping with Maria as a fait accompli before the photographic shoot. I believe it is this down-to-earth approach that set the scene for Maria to pose in such an empowering and celebratory way.
As a Psychotherapist I understand the experience of Orgasm as one where we are in absolute contact with ourselves; a place where our internal mind simultaneously links to the here-and-now physical bodily feeling; resulting in a completeness within oneself.
Linda breaks all the taboos around sexuality that should never have been there in the first place; she puts women back in the driving seat." - Alexandra Warder
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