'For Sale' is based in how we interact with our bodies within our personal relationships, how we 'sell' ourselves, how we seduce, look, react, accept or refuse other people because their looks. Or maybe is all in the personality? It's about normal bodies and normal people being themselves, trying to be liked, or not. Do we give ourselves free as a present or do we put a 'price tag'...
The purpose of this new action 'For Sale' is to establish the style of Flashing Bodies and create awareness of the project for the public, commissioners, sponsors and supporting bodies.
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Flashing Bodies - Action Two - Part 2 / "For Sale"
This is the selected photo-gallery of Action Two - Part Two. It took place in Brixton (London) amongst friends and word of mouth. (See part 1 below)
Flashing Bodies - Action Two - Part 1 / "For Sale"
This is the selected photo-gallery of Action Two - Part One. It took place at BASH in Old St. (London) with participants applying online.
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Antonio Molina's text for the book
Flashing Bodies; desire reconstructed
"A person is not a still life; not even a dead person" Oscar Kokoshka, 1974
For all its apparent bravado and, for some, its shock value, Flashing Bodies goes back to the very roots of the early manifestations of tableaux vivant. Turning tradition on its head by stripping it both literally and conceptually of received taboos, sitters are not mere models but active participants in a performance where they are also the main protagonists.
In the resulting tableaux participants' unprompted, unscripted and sometimes propped up - seem to re-enact scenes reminiscent of Ribera, El Greco or Bellmer with Dan Flavin as the lighting director; an orgiastic Weimer Republic of licentious players with Dix and Schiele as producers, where not one beauty canon applies and desire is reclaimed or reconstructed by flaunting the body to excess.
Almost caught in flagrante, the viewer has the impression of being part of an implicit exercise in collective voyeurism. That act of non-intervention, which Sontag referred to, is once more turned into a way of at least tacitly, often explicitly, encouraging what is going to keep on happening
In a series of images we are offered a privileged insider's peep into a world of suspended interactions. As if through a pinhole we are privy to the thoughts - caught in extreme close up - of men averting the camera's gaze; or a Red Riding Hood who has outgrown the Big Bad Wolf and is courted instead by a priapic satyr disguised in a tiger's mask. Like a female Laocoon seemingly glad to be rid of her offspring in order to indulge in a little Bachus worship.
Props are used as rigid comfort blankets. Sometimes their nakedness is enough, I recall Berger: "To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself". Nakedness turns into a transparent shield; or is it a magnetic field? - behind which we are finally left to our own devices, happy in the knowledge of not being recognised by the outside world.
There is an almost classical quality to the resulting images, images that capture but a small part of the action, a suspended eternal bacchanal gatecrashed by Lyle Harris. Dionysus seems to haven taken over the asylum and the inmates are having fun!
In the meantime, we remain outside looking in. Detached and happy to let the camera do its deed. From a distance trying to unravel the codes used and roles adopted by the performers, while at the same time challenging the rules of that very detachment and experiencing shifting idenfications with the different characters, feelings or experiences.
The very nature of the performance belies the real vocation of Flashing Bodies. It wants to transcend the very medium, which it has adopted as its outlet. Photography somehow seems a little contrived a medium and hardly able to contain the life within these images.
In fact, Flashing Bodies is not a photographic project. Its concept is deeply engrained in the traditions of performance.
This publication is but a by-product, a glossy documentation of a series of ephemeral interactive actions carried out by Completely Naked where active participation by willing volunteer performers is key. With no prescriptive parameters for the action, the
performances unfold in front of the camera turning into impromptu tableaux whose scope is only limited by the keenness of the participants.
Flashing Bodies is not confined to a studio or a closed set and, therefore, unencumbered by the limitations imposed by setting and space. This flexibility of application adds yet another dimension to the project, which can feel as much at home in the intimate surroundings of a small theatre or an art gallery as part of large-scale events.
It is in fact in these 'public' scenarios that Flashing Bodies becomes a microcosmos of the world at large; a dress rehearsal where, as Tzara reminds us, art is not the most precious manifestation of life nor does it have the celestial and universal value that people like to attribute to it. Life is far more interesting.
2010, Antonio Molina-Vazquez
Director of Spain Now! festival
Idea, realisation & design: Pau Ros & Pablo Goikoetxea
Production & Project Coordinator: Rania Bellou
Photos: Pablo Goikoetxea & Pau Ros
Video: Marcelo Borges
Participants part 1:
Ram Kak, Sebastian Leszczynski and Sonja Peskova
Make up by Gosia Byliniak
Shot at BASH, London 2009.
Participants part 2:
Ernesto Sarezale, Juan De Dios Miro, La Hara Pietro, Julien Aschner, Alejandro,
Diego Aranda Teixeira, Thomas Blomberg, Cristina and Yael
Shot in Brixton, London 2010