Melonie Foster Hennessy – The Creation of Eve (2016)
I’ve been thinking a lot about the letter of the law vs the spirit in which it was given.
For example: this is clearly a v. clever end run around The ‘Gram’s policy regarding what is acceptable to post in terms of nudity or sexually explicit imagery.
There’s the school of thought that artists who address issues relating to bodies or sexuality, should know the rules governing acceptable content inside and out–whether to steer clear of them entirely or use them as cover for challenging their existence.
It’s less the fault of this dichotomy than the rules themselves but it needs to be made more apparent that that such rules really do encourage the conflation of naked bodies and sexuality under the rubric that both are pornographic. (Which is rhetorically a means of extract the age old argument of where pornography–distasteful, but protected on the grounds of free speech vs obscenity and then reapplying the same animated principle to questions of what an image can or can’t show before being relegated to the same category as pornography.)
Now: one of my most prevailing personal preoccupations is the intersections of art and pornography. And I think images like the above manage to interrogate interesting notions. For example, the photographer her is a woman. So while I am generally one of those blogs that really doesn’t especially care for images where the image maker presents themselves as touching the model. (Grammatically, this isn’t so strong suggested here due to the hand entering from frame left as opposed to the lower frame–which relates instinctively with the notion of the fourth wall.)
But it’s also interesting that this is a woman who is choosing to present this vantage. (In combination with the title, there’s a lot to unpack–and I encourage you to spend some time with those thoughts, but I have a different agenda…)
In a way, I think this is actually more sexually suggestive by implication than something that embraces obscenity as a means of decrying the rules of what is and what is not acceptable. Or, the better way to put it might be to say: knowing the rules well enough to break them is an act of transgression–an act of transgression which bestows on the work a transgressive punctum. Whereas work that embraces a level of obscenity never considers the rules as such as an sort of genesis point and instead makes the work in an image of unmediated vision.
I think both can have credible art-ness but I think it likely unnecessarily complicates things in more cases than not.