Blind, insatiable, violent, voluptuous, enigmatic, imaginary, obscene, transgressive, elusive desire is part of a rich philosophical tradition that has, in turn, been despised and adored so much so that it touches the essence of our being. Man is a “watchful desire” according to André Comte-Sponville. Unable to look steadily at one’s own desire, to predict its appearance or to grasp its meaning seems a wasted effort. This subjectivity inherent in desire has given rise to multiple artistic interpretations in the medium of photography. Lascivious, fragmented, veiled, blurred, passionate, fantasized bodies: innumerable are the faces of Eros. Eroticism, however, has not found itself the subject of extensive research in the history of photography. Worse yet, it is often confused with nudity, sex, and pornography. What makes eroticism so special? In a digital commercial world marked by the omnipresence of pornography, what value does eroticism have? In last year’s group exhibition “Women on View – Aesthetics of Desire in Advertising”, Chaussée 36 took a critical look at the commercial and erotic instrumentalization of wom- en’s bodies in advertising. At present, further questions are discussed...
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