The exhibiton surveys homo-erotic themes that stretch from Antiquity until the present, from the point of view of the homosexual imagination...
Ars Homo Erotica is immersed in the traditions of classical art, while it places an emphasis on the current politics of minority rights. It combines myths and the history of art with the contemporary and the debate on the condition of democracy. It builds on the philosophy of eroticism as an experience formative to humanist ideas and their affirmation of the joy of life and sex, even in the face of repression.
The exhibition proposes a different perspective on the history of culture, the collection of the Museum, and the art of Central and Eastern Europe. Works from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw, along with the works of artists especially invited to take place in the exhibition. The result is an informal survey of the history of culture, from Antiquity until the present, from the point of view of the homosexual imagination. This perspective points to a different canon of art and love in Western civilisation and liberates it from the heteronormative filter and taboo. The homo-erotic is taken as an aesthetic and its erotic quality is a vital element of its visual representation. The selection criterion is not the artist's sexual orientation, rather, it is the theme or context of the work.
The show also aims to uncover and accentuate many forgotten artefacts and to highlight neglected meanings. Forms of male and female homosexuality have differed throughout history, a diversity of universality. Hence the transhistoric and eclectic profile of the presentation, which presents a world of images that are full of allusions, codes and subtexts. These were the only means of expressing homosexuality in times of oppression. The exhibition affords the opportunity to recall double meanings of mythological and biblical stories.
In order to systematise the multitude of representations and metaphors, the exhibition has been divided into thematic sections which juxtapose historical and contemporary works of art.
Let us enter the homoerotic universe, without forgetting that eroticism and desire go beyond the senses and the body: they are aspects of the inner life of human beings, the history of culture, and the politics of mores. All of these layers are explored within the framework of the exhibition.
The exhibition begins in the main lobby. Time of Struggle is devoted to art engaged in the politics of sexuality and human rights. The visitor is introduced to the history of culture through the current political situation in Central and Eastern Europe and will thus bear in mind the social context when journeying across the various dimensions of the homoerotic. The social context has always been controversial, as it is today, and art has always had to face norms imposed on sexual diversity.
Homoerotic Classicism is a gallery of Classical and Classicist male nudes and portraits reminiscent of antique gods and heroes of homosexual myths and stories. Classicism was an aesthetic inspired by the art of ancient Greece and Rome. This is where homosexual imagination of European culture originated. Homoerotic Classicism takes us to the roots of Western civilisation, art, erotics, and democracy.
Male Nude presents various forms of the sensuous male nude, from 19th century academic studies and realist painting to contemporary gay art.
Male Couples and Ganymede accentuate the Romantic and erotic iconography of male couples in literal contemporary works and in the metaphorical, mythological and religious works of the past. Audiences witness a homo-mythology of relationships: Hyacinth and Apollo, Achilles and Patroclus, David and Goliath, Zeus and Ganymede.
Saint Sebastian is the section devoted to a great homoerotic icon of Christianity and its impersonations, from Renaissance painting to video art.
Lesbian Imaginarium is a collection of paintings representing various forms of femininity throughout the history of art. It presents the continuum of female homo-eroticism in visual culture from Sappho, figured on antique vases, to contemporary portraits of lesbian couples.
Transgender is the section of the exhibition that relates to concepts and representations of identities located between the genders, transgressing the normative, binary gender system. These works of art take us from mythical androgyny to contemporary masquerades, while examining the politics of gender subversion.
The Archive section presents Polish posters created to promote the works of famous homosexuals in film, theatre. and art.
Polish contemporary artists at the exhibition: Laura Pawela, Maciej Osika, Wojciech Ćwiertniewicz, Adam Adach, Karol Radziszewski, Barbara Falender, Grzegorz Kowalski, Karolina Breguła, Stasys Eidrigevicius, Tomek Kitliński, Mariusz Tarkawian, Katarzyna Kozyra, Izabella Gustowska, Aleksandra Polisiewicz and Krzysztof Jung.
Curator: Paweł Leszkowicz.
The exhibition is open June 11 - September 5, 2010.
The exhibition is accompanied by a book by Paweł Leszkowicz Art Pride. Polish Gay Art published by Abiekt.pl.
National Museum in Warsaw
Aleje Jerozolimskie 3, 00-495 Warsaw
director: prof. Piotr Piotrowski
tel. (+48 22) 621 10 31, 629 30 93
fax (+48 22) 622 85 59
Source: press release