Tuesday, 9 September 2008
You have them too, I am sure. Those images that are disturbing, showing something bad, something you don't like. Still you can't avoid looking at them, being fascinated by them and even aroused. And the more you decide that this image, actually, is not something you should be excited about the more excited you get. Is it the sense of it being forbidden? The sense that this is too bad to be allowed to be intriguing?
This is such an image for me. I am fascinated by it and to some extent it is because it is cruel.
Where do I begin to talk about it? Describing it may be a good start. What do we have here? Two men, looking very 70s, one with shirt and hat, the other with no shirt. They are holding a woman and she is, really the centre of attention. She is naked, very naked. And she is bound, her hands behind her back. She is held by the men and they seem to be lifting her onto some kind of pole, a sculpted pole and you seem to know that they intend to impale her on it.
She looks scared. She looks in horror at the sculpted pole. Yes, I see it looks like a man's sex but I am a little too embarrassed to shout about that.
I am not sure it is going to hurt her. Her fear may have to do with being humiliated by it all and feeling helpless.
But here we have a very naked and bound woman, about to be impaled on a menacing looking pole. She is terrified and if you like, this is a picture of cruelty, and abuse. The expression on her face seems to suggest that this is not about mutual pleasure. Rather it is about those men wanting to humiliate her, or even hurt her.
There is something in her utter desperation and helplessness and her nudity that makes this picture very charged for me. She is in the hand of two strong men and she is, in addition, bound, even made more helpless.
This is not a picture of something nice. On the contrary, it is quite cruel. Still, and this is the crucial point, still I find it exciting. We don't have to explain, to find the symbolism that makes us sleep well. I accept it to be disturbing and arousing at the same time. I will not admit that it shows something I want happen. It is not a nice fantasy, far from it. It is an arousing picture that still, after all the times I have looked at it, disturbs me.