Brothels in art
Saturday Sept 9 ‘The Venal Muses’ by Tutsy Navarathna opened at the Itakos Art Gallery on LEA 16. Curated by Akim Alonzo this exhibition leads you into a brothel. But have no fear, you will not be asked to either take or give certain ‘brothel services’, you only will be guided through a series of SL paintings (that’s how I like to call the shown works) that represent the presence and importance of brothels in both RL and SL, especially for artists. Call it a need, a motivation or inspiration, whatever you like, fact is brothels never lacked attention by the art world and maybe even gained a special value through this they never would have gained without these artistic representations. Brothels as part of society, not hidden, but out in the open, as a kind of tribute to not only pleasures, but also the women who provided these pleasures. Women, like you and me, just without all the fancy masquerades and pretensions.
The exhibit opens with a short explanation and quote from Munch, accompanied by several art works. I quote both texts below:
I do not believe in the art which is not the compulsive result of man’s urge to open his heart.
The representation of brothels, prostitutes and sometimes their regular users, has always fascinated artists.
Poets, painters, photographers, writers, filmmakers were inspired by the atmosphere of brothels. Some, like Toulouse Lautrec, have even made the essential part of his work. But painters like Degas, Manet, Derain, Munch, Georges Rouault, Van Dongen, Vlaminck, to name but a few of the most celebrated, lay on the canvas, ladies of little virtue Lounge sofas or in the rooms of their lupanar.
This also allowed them to forge a new pictorial language, the provocative compositions, the caricature style and garish colors. Diverting the classical nude, the different pictorial movements each use this subject which allows them a “rebellion” as Charles Baudelaire calls it, which aims not only to criticize their society but also the condition of treatment of these girls, women above all, to revolutionize the codes of representation, and even to create new ones.
Naturally, their younger Pablo Picasso is not to be outdone, it is a universally known painting, as founder of Cubism, which holds the spotlight: initially denominated the bordel of Avignon in its first sketches, The Demoiselles d’Avignon is in effect considered one of the major works of contemporary creation.
Inside the Venal Muses
You can, if you like, take this title, ‘Inside the Venal Muses’, as a sexual one, a penetration so to speak, but the non-sexual way simply means to describe your tour inside the brothel. Also a form of penetration but a decent one you can perform without any muse or nudity :) Via a so called ‘magic door’ in the main building of Itakos Art Gallery you can enter the exhibiton. A nice old man will receive you there. You may consider to sit on his lap for a moment while he reads you a story. No idea what story however, the man is kind of private with his visitors. After that you simply walk and watch all rooms. Sometimes red arrows show a direction to help you find the way. Do not forget to also take stairs (several) and TP’s inside the brothel, because some parts of the building only can be visited in that way. The peep show can be too arousing maybe, so you are warned. Please clean after your visit . . . :) And if all was to your wishes you can finally relax upstairs in the lounge bar with a drink, pole dance and history slideshow.
Yes, that’s a bit of a hard one for me (again no sexual meaning of course) because I cannot be totally objective this time since I made the building and its atmosphere with decorations. It’s a bit odd to WOW yourself is it not? So I let others WOW or UNWOW that aspect and will focus on the art works. I can be short about that however. I adore them all. They really have the look and feel of classic paintings, yet all is done in SL with ofc Photoshop as big brother to make them so. Deep, warm colours, expressive and like a story inside the walls of a brothel, they to me show how you can be sensual and erotic without explicit visuals. Very well done. Congrats to Tutsy for that :)
Itakos Art Gallery
I really like to thank Akim Alonzo for his generosity in letting us work at his LEA sim. We were given full freedom (ok except being too adult in decoration, because of LEA rules) to create a space like this and I need to make a bow for having consumed over 1000 prims so I was told . . . oopsie…. sorry Akim :) As for the Itakos Art Project at LEA 16, it is more than just the gallery we all know. Akim wants to (re)create the story of Ithaca on ground level with his own personal interpretation. It will be an extension of what the gallery means to be. In his own words and I quote again:
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
From this quote of the great photographer Ansel Adams, the creator and artistic director Akim Alonzo conceives, imagines it, especially dreams about the ”Itakos Art Gallery”. The name evokes not randomly Ithaca, the island of Odysseus as a metaphor and symbolic significance of the Trip, one of the inner journey metaphor that runs through the fantasy, the dream, the search for beauty and emotion, not that it is so important the Goal, but rather the road that runs to get it. And the Illusion of Virtual Worlds, according to Akim, perfectly suited to represent this evocative path, and through the Visual Art shapes our imagination into emotional Pixels.
The “Itakos Art Gallery” welcomes visitors and accompanies through the journeys of virtual artists. The three-story building can accommodate more artists and works simultaneously and each month will be presented different artists in personal performances, also on the top floor will be dedicated to collective of artists selected among those enrolled in the sister group to the Gallery on Flickr: Soul Portraits – Itakos Art Gallery in Second Life .
Have a good trip.
This kind of trip we basically all should take as an approach in our life. We often lose ourselves in goals, details, stupid issues of no importance and impulsive emotions being our lead. To know and feel that every step we take on every trip is part of whatever outcome, is an exceptional way of valuing life and your personal experiences without fearing for a goal not being reached (yet or never) and gives life this meaning we all desperately search for sometimes. Today is as important as the last day of a trip. Connecting this way of life with brothels I am convinced we need (even today) a better understanding of the function and importance of sexual desires being part of our trips in life. Without experiencing these kind of needs and their sometimes both destructive and satisfying effect we miss a lot of insight in why we act how we act and why we are who we are. Brothels and its visitors show an unfiltered presence of sexual desires and needs, not being less than the ones we show under our private sheets and . . . in Second Life.
I just need to give attention as well to our DJ during the opening. Ferdynand Straaf aka Ferdy is a music narrator with a great talent to make music sets totally immersive with the scenery and atmosphere. I know Ferdy a few years now and the way she prepares I really like. She not only visits the place to know where it is, she inhales it during many hours while testing music and trying to connect with the surrounding. The result was a 3 hours spectacle of great music which gave us all much pleasure and made us stay till the last sounds. Perfect, well done and thank you as well Ferdy!
Also a special thank you to our bartender, the always special Naxos Loon aka Dr Nax. Thank your being there, even if no one took a drink :) Your humour is unbeaten, fresh and amusing, and who knows that one person WILL do you a striptease after all :)
Video by Glasz DeCuir
A beautiful machinima made by Glasz DeCuir shows very well the atmosphere of what you will visit. Watch with sound please:
Website: Akim Alonzo
Flickr: Akim Alonzo
Flickr: Tutsy Navarathna
Ferdynand (Ferdy) Straaf: SL profile page
Naxos Loon: SL profile page
Glasz DeCuir: Vimeo channel
TP to Itakos Gallery and exhibiton: The Venal Muses
I like to end with a poem, matching with the Itakos Project / Gallery and all its exhibits very well. The trip inside ourselves being our most precious treasure to grow and evolve as human being. Ithaka by C. P. Cavafy. I choose to show the spoken word version with Sean Connery as narrator. I like his voice and how he reads. For who prefers to read only, follow this link please: Ithaka by P Cavafy