When you attend a show titled ‘Sexxxitecture’, you know both what to look for and the danger of projecting too much onto what you see. Purporting to ‘explore the complex relationship between architecture and people’, this group exhibition featuring seven artists focused on how sexuality fits into and is affected by man-made structures.
While exploring how ‘the built environment informs human sexual dynamics,’ the exhibition had the effect of highlighting the often comically antagonistic relationship between buildings and human sexuality. What can be the most sublime physical and spiritual experience available to human beings is, in fact, subject to sabotage by the discomfort and loin-frosting ugliness of the structures we have designed, built and furnished, presumably to soothe our souls and enhance our comfort. Daniel Gerwin’s sculptures – for instance, Leaving Home (2012) and Dress Up(2014), jagged-edged and forbidding to the touch, suggests violently broken bedframes and spiked peepholes. Two paintings by Roman Liska resemble magnified carpet burns, mounted like trophies on the wall (‘Dazzle Paintings’, 2015). The press release for ‘Sexxxitecture’ rightly pointed out the aphrodisiac effect that balance, sleekness, harmony and luxury have on many. Alejandro Almanza Pereda trolled such sensitivities with his witty installation of chintzy shelves, barely supported by nonsensical totems of upside-down statuettes, assorted books, even thin glass bowls. In a smart use of CULT’s dim and low-ceilinged middle room, gallery director Aimee Friberg placed a small, bare, antique single bed, with small roses painted on the headboard and a Jacquard pattern on the mattress. Peering in from behind the frayed black curtain felt more invasive than voyeuristic, like one was about to uncover a tragic secret. The tableau was a grim mix of the sinister and the innocent: its dimensions claustrophobic rather than cosy, the bed, which it’s hard to imagine accommodating one adult body, let alone two of them, could nevertheless be construed as the scene of some dark sex act. (continue reading)