"Sex in the City" recalls the title of a popular lifestyle television series that humorously tracks down the erotic foibles of neurotic young urbanites. Yet "Sex in the City" is also a symbol for the transformation of sexuality in the highly rationalized, thoroughly commercialized urban environment in the media and Internet age. Sex does not mean exclusively the direct interaction of human bodies, but rather, gains a phantasmal dimension in the virtual era. It becomes a game with replacements, fantasies, imaginary projections of sensuality on bill boards, in films, and pop songs along with their accompanying video clips, whereby a mediator often stands between sexual desire and its satisfaction (telephone sex, erotic chats on the Internet, etc.).
The exhibition "Sex in the City" shows four international artists' confrontation with the theme of female sexuality and urban society:
Elke Krystufek plays with the performative diversity of sexual appearance in her videos: It's a Small World (1999) and Paris is Burning (1995): a logistics of jouissance, guided by the wish-machine of a commercial-erotic surplus.
The Canadian and French artist Nadine Norman confronted the social and economic conditions of sexuality and desire in two major projects that are documented in the exhibition. In Call Girl, a controversial project that took place at the Canadian cultural institute in Paris- and was discussed in parliamentary debate even in the Canadian House of Commons, she made it possible for visitors to book supposed "prostitutesâ€ for a certain amount of time, who were then available for discussion. The maintenance of the structures of a client relationship gave rise to intimate levels of communication that circled issues of availability and the relationships between money, power, and bodies. Also in Je suis disponible â€“ et vous? (I am availableâ€“ and you?, 2002), in a play on classified ads and dating organizations, Nadine Norman combined characteristics of the capitalist working world with private, but publicly negotiated social wishes and sexual desires.
In her video She loves SEX, and she hates SEX (2001), the young Japanese artist TANY slips into the roles of various women who speak about their personal approach to sexuality, which is still taboo today within the male-dominated, rigid norms of Japanese society. From the individual positions, which are in part entirely fictional and in part based on talks and interviews with women, a multi-faceted, fragmented, and contradictory self portrait of the artist develops. In her video Dedicated to my Ex-Lover (2001) TANY beats her ex-boyfriend, the artist Makato Aida. Together, they staged an ironic act of reconciliation for Aida's career and private success since their separation and at the same time a parody-based drama of jealousy and pain.
Annie Sprinkle (U.S.) travesties the legends of holy prostitutes and the knowing superiority of female sexuality. In Annie Sprinkle's Herstory of Porn (1999) Sprinkle, who at the beginning of the 1980s was among the first female pornographic film producers, tells of her life as a porn star and performer, presenting a story of female emancipation within the sex industry and ironically, at the same time, a career in art. In Sluts and Goddesses (1992) Annie Sprinkle becomes a sexologist and teacher by describing How to Become a Sex Goddess in 101 Easy Steps. By employing the topos of sexuality, all four artists within the exhibition quite consciously stage their appearances as women within an art world which places demands on them, as well as us, in terms of desire and availability.
Parallel to "Sex in the Cityâ€ from 5 â€“ 27 September, showing in project space karlsplatz will be the slide series "Streams by the Wind â€“ Heat Strokeâ€ by the Japanese artist Noritoshi Hirakawa. His work focuses on dealing with social and sexual restrictions.
Curators: Gerald Matt, Eva Kernbauer
Accompanying the exhibition will be a catalogue with contributions from Meike Schmidt-Gleim and Andrea Salzmann / Julia Fuchs as well as a detailed interview with the four artists.
German, approx. 64 pages; euro 7,-
Opening: Thursday 4 September 2003, 7 p.m.
Sa. 6 September 2003, 5 p.m.: exhibition talk by Nadine Norman
Sa. 20 September 2003, 8 p.m.: performance by Annie Sprinkle
photo: Annie Sprinkle, Anatomy of a Pin-Up
project space karlsplatz