Sergei Shekherov – I Hadn’t Anyone till You (2015)
This would be utterly unremarkable were it not for two things:
- The brazen placement of the two hands.
- The model bears an uncanny resemblance to Michelangelo’s David–the position of the arms is transposed but the likeness is otherwise flagrant.
Taken in the context of Shekherov’s status as a citizen of the Russian Federation and given that nation’s open hostility to LGBTQ+ folk, there’s a tension between the prosaic studio setting and the audacity of what is depicted.
The title speaks to something universal: the human feeling of being alone in the world and desperately seeking out a partner. Add the gayness of the work and the meaning deepens, encompassing the complexity of looking for someone when your experience and expression of sexuality is outside the mainstream norm–and how much more finding someone with whom you can share your authentic self means.
Then there’s the undeniable similarity to David along with the fact that unless I’m mistaken the clothed man is Shekherov–pointing to an experience of the erotic in relationship to masters and masterworks of art. (It reminds me more than a little of Luisa Terminiello work hard.