Our first exhibition in the new 2D gallery space is from our own Marina Münter. The new building designed by Soy is now housing all of the 2D galleries and shows from Whiskey Monday and Rob Danton have been restaged in the new spaces.
Marina, owner and curator of the GBTH Project, brings us an exhibition exploring a topic that is rare and compelling: the female gaze through erotic photography. The images are striking in subject matter, lush and elegant in their presentation, and draw the viewer into Marina's camera.
Eros invites the viewer to ponder objectification, sexual imagery, and the ways in which women are often left out of the camera side of erotic art entirely. However, the exhibition is also a pure celebration of the male form as sexual objects.
Whiskey Monday - Marina, we’re so excited to see your own solo exhibit at GBTH, and not just because the subject matter is all dicks! We’ve discussed the lack of femme viewpoints in erotic art; how did this exploration of your own viewpoint help you define what you find sexually attractive about the male form?
Marina Münter - Ha! I mean, since I was a kid I wanted to be 18 (legal age in Brazil) so I could buy cigarettes, alcohol and pornography as part of the birthday celebrations, and it was heartbreaking when I realized there was nothing in the immediate market catered for cisgender straight women like me - boohoo. And, fine, some might say “oh but there was this one independent magazine blah blah” but honestly, porn has been synonymous of being something made for guys - from all sexual orientations. So, from my perspective, I had to figure out, you know, in praxis. The preconceived notion of sex that I could take as a reference were not exactly porn directly, so maybe because of that I end up always needing this deep narrative in my brain. And that was fine but it still felt like I was doing an improv, getting to know the guy in front of me even if it was just a one night stand, to see how it would unfold. You try not to think too much, right? The whole atmosphere in the space would help setting the mood, the booze… Owning up to my own sexuality at the time (late teens) felt so empowering and I just knew I had to do something about it at some point, because I set myself for adventures I wouldn’t even recommend others to follow and art can have this impact on us, you know? The development of this exhibition started when a friend of mine asked exactly this - what about the male figure I found interesting, and I couldn’t answer in an objectified way, so I asked him to pose for me and as I shared my screen, we discussed the pose, the hand gestures, the angles, body language and so on. From the first shooting with him to the last subject I already felt it was flowing so much easier because I knew what I wanted from these shoots.
WM - What was the dynamic between you and your subjects while you were shooting? Did that get in the way of your work, or enhance it?
MM - During the shootings, there was no physical interaction between me and them. My avatar was fully dressed and sitting as far as I could so the control huds for genitals and face would still work. I wouldn't do anything differently in that matter, even though I’m one always saying that your avatar is necessary for a more immersive experience in this metaverse. Having the mindset to a goal and knowing what I was seeking for in the final result helped a lot, too. So it became about me, like, ravishing them through the camera, putting in simple words. Plus photographing in Second Life has a different rhythm than in the physical world. Things take much longer, especially if you seek a narrative in a sort of “unstaged” scenario.
When I invited these men to pose I told them briefly what the idea was and asked them to trust me. If in the end they didn’t like the images, I’d simply remove said image from the show, or reshoot, or not use any of them and find someone else to shoot. I think the fact that all of them are at least friends that I know for a while and that enjoy my work as an artist made the mood extremely comfortable as far as trust goes in this process, in which I just felt free to explore their bodies.
WM - We generally think of objectification of people as a negative thing. Where is the difference between objectification and celebration- or is there any?
MM - Well, it goes on the meaning of the term that it “degrades” someone, usually a female, to an object, removing any other traits and values they might have. My biggest issue with this is the lack of consent and counterpoint, if it makes sense. From my own experience, there is time and place for everything. So if I’m in a work meeting, for example, I want to be accountable for my professional skills and nothing else, even because it is what I’ll be observing from whoever is in the room. Which is different from when you’re out at night for clubbing and drinks, even though it is not always common sense and that is fine. People need to understand that getting a clear positioning from the other person is an essential part of flirting. Get creative with it, I don’t know. See it with the same importance of wearing condoms and go about having your fun.
My take is that the difference between objectifying and celebrating someone’s body, goes on how and where you do it. Important to also remember that I’m not approaching romantic love here.
WM - What do you want your viewer to take with them as they leave your show? What conversations are you hoping they’ll have as they consider the work?
MM - That there is more other than just a bunch of naked dudes in it, I guess. Sexuality is not a one size fits all, so I really don’t expect that these images will turn everyone on. Would be nice if they did, I guess, but the idea is not finding someone with a similar perspective. What would actually be awesome is if it could be this trigger to go and, you know, celebrate their own sexualities. Discuss the distinction from love and lust. Any conversation that would break this silly taboo of talking sex or thinking it is filthy and unsanitary.
EROS by Marina Münter opens today, May 20th, 1pm PST @the GBTH project.