Why does pornography have such a bad reputation? BODYPOLITCX is an international group exhibition – with extensive sideprogramme of debates, performances and workshops – seeing sex through the eyes of over 70 artists, film-makers, activists, photo-journalists, musicians and magazine editors.

‘A censor is someone who knows more than he thinks you ought to’ (Lawrence Peter)

Why does pornography have such a bad reputation? Everybody has an opinion about porn. Most profess not to like it and many claim to have never even seen any. But can pornography be avoided in a world of increasingly sexualized magazines, films, commercials and websites? Additionally, whilst the question ‘what is porn?’ may seem straight-forward, beyond a technical or dictionary definition, it remains almost impossible to answer.

This group exhibition does not seek to provide one simple response. Nor does it take sides in the for-or-against debate about pornography. Instead, in a specially conceived setting that combines artworks with artifacts, BODYPOLITICX poses further questions: does porn symbolize patriarchal structures and the oppression of women? Are porn films a reflection of existing social and sexual relationships? What is taboo when everything around us is sexualized and yet sexual practices remain un-discussable? Is pornography to blame for the destruction of sexuality?

In Europe during the Middle Ages, sexuality was an unknown concept. Sexual intercourse and masturbation were taken for granted and were not stigmatized with shame. Irrespective of gender, satisfying one’s desires was seen as a way to remain healthy. Not until the 16th century – with the beginnings of industrialization, the division of labor and hence a greater emphasis on social- and self-control – was a lack of sexual discipline declared taboo, and sexuality banished to the private domain. The concept of ‘modern pornography’ arose with the expansion of printing during the 18th century. Initially it was used by free-thinkers as a tool to criticize the religious and political authorities, and was not primarily intended as a means of sexual stimulation. Only with advancing industrialization and the invention of photography did pornography become a category in its own right.

With a focus upon the 20th and 21st centuries, this exhibition takes a contemporary look at an age-old fascination, seeing sex through the eyes of over 70 artists, film-makers, activists, photo-journalists, musicians and magazine editors. By means of visual juxtaposition, the exhibition sets out to examine the demarcation of the sex industry, subculture, pop, performance and art. BODYPOLITCX asks: If we have learnt from Shakespeare what love is, what can we learn from the cultural practice of pornography?

Note: Entrance allowed only to visitors above 18 y.o.

Program Friday 7 Sep 2007
From 3:00 p.m. press preview
6:00 p.m. Exhibition opens
7:30 p.m. Welcome by Nicolaus Schafhausen and a short introduction by the curators
8:00 p.m. Roundtable discussion with Jürgen Brüning, Olaf Metzel, Thomas Bayrle, Panik Qulture, Eon McKai.
10:00 pm Workshop with Jürgen Brüning:
The Porn Ensemble presents The Porn Dialogue
11:30 pm Party with DJ Fritz Ostermayer at De Unie, Mauritsweg, Rotterdam.

BODYPOLITCX is curated by Florian Waldvogel and Thomas Edlinger.

The opening takes place during the Festival De Wereld van Witte de With to celebrate the opening of the cultural season. Additional events for the opening weekend to be announced.

—Supported by

Mondriaan Foundation & September.