Jesús Llaría – no head (2014)
As in tune as I can be with logging my own process of reading images, this short circuits everything.
I’m not sure I can explain it without getting a little TMI but it reminds me of being fifteen. (Not that I saw anything like this in the flesh until almost a decade later…)
It reminds me of random, mundane things that would inexplicably trigger arousal so extreme it was actually painful.
I had already been chasing the same oxytocin/prolactin buzz for seven years as a way of smoothing out the jagged edges of my abusive adolescent existence and suddenly it was also effecting some sort of vaguely imagined autonomy over my own body.
As a friend puts it: it’s a real wonder all the masturbation didn’t inflict permanent nerve damage.
So yes: initially seeing this image resulted in me having to release some sexual tension.
Afterwards, I found myself enchanted by the way the image works. Although I’m not sure it’s ever justifiable to employ a frame as a means of dismembering a woman’s body, I can’t technically refute the decision as Llaría observes the dictum of amputating between joints instead of at them.
And there is a notable compositional logic supporting his choice. Note the repeated angle of the elbow which is not the model’s, the line of the lower half of the dresses’ buttons, the way the seam to the left of the lower button line softens the angel to echo that of the model’s right thigh only to have the same angle emerge again in the cocked angle of her right leg.
There’s also the matter of palate: excluding her bush, the image consists of three hues. The rust colored earth figures at the darker end of a spectrum that would include the more magenta tones in her skin; while the white in her slipper and dress are virtually identical. The blue of the dress makes everything else pop.
Let’s not forget texture, either–something about which I am often preoccupied. The skin doesn’t really have texture in this image; except juxtaposed between the dirt and the fabric of the dress the absence of texture becomes a null field. Unlike the ground or the dress you can’t imagine touching the model’s legs but you can recall what it was like to have touched such legs. The visual synesthesia suggests an insistent anti-objectification that subtly reminds that this is no less or no more than what you have always known.
I would be dreadfully remiss for also not mentioning that even though I am not female bodied and if I were I would not be comfortable wearing a dress, I’m more than a little obsessed with the dress.