Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Disturbing Images

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.


Paul said...

Janice, we all have closed doors in our minds
Horrid images that both frighten and fascinate and sometimes arouse us.
This is the price we pay for what we are, imagination and talent always has a price.
Warm hugs,

Anonymous said...

Dear Janice,

Ah, the eye of the beholder. What follows is not, I repeat, NOT, a criticism of your or anyone else's perspective.

My beholding eye sees a stylized gang rape with an artificial phallus by a couple of cowardly cowboy wannabes. (The ersatz Western outfits is a giveaway.)

The picture leaves me cold; I ask myself why. Because the act seems somehow pointless (oddly for me, no pun is intended). If they choose to ravish her, why don't they? Because they don't wish to (and why not? she is stunning--) or because they can't? Is this some sort of training device, or is it torture? Both, or neither?

I tend to shy away from explicit rape imagery in my mind and on paper, though I often dwell on coerced sex and sexual humiliation. To me (and this is only about me) the forced intimacy of such flesh-to-flesh contact is less inhuman than the prop-driven image you present. But perhaps it is the impersonal nature of the penetration, and the inexplicable intention of the two men, that intrigue you.

Chacun a son gout...


Wystan E

Ollie said...

Like Wystan I don't find this arousing, but then that was exactly your point wasn't it? That here is a nasty violent image which noone would want in reality and yet, and yet there is something whispering in the back of the mind which says it is somehow different, more acceptable than the front part of our minds accepts.

And you choose to confront these thoughts and tease them out, and in the doing so allow us to consider these things too. Thanks

wilhelmina said...

Dear Janice,

I understand about that strange feeling of being disturbed yet intrigued and maybe even aroused by such pictures.

Though this one doesn't arouse me there is a sort of morbid fascination.

Somewhere in there I still need to see or feel there is consent to get aroused.

These pics are always interesting though.

Hugs Mina

Janice said...

Dear Paul, I appears to me that we are talking about the same thing. Thank you.

Dear Wystan, 'impersonal nature' sums it up quite well. I didn't say it was a nice picture.

Dear Ollie, I think you are right, there is this sense that there are other, darker things lurking behind. And I think it is good to look at them too.

Dear Mina, 'morbid fascination' - I like that. I agree with you, consent is good. Still I have this darker side, the one that has this morbid fascination with crueller things.



EddieBGoode said...

I find the combination of a cowboy and a metro-sexual to be the most interesting thing about this drawing.

Anonymous said...

worth remembering is WHO the artist was, and his 'genre'. GOOGLE: Bishop

exquisite 'damsels in distress' and oft 'way out' impossible fantasy bondages his specialty.

A beautiful graphics craftsman!

Bishop thrived in the pre-internet 70's.
He was an 'out' gay.
Died at 40 +/- by his own hand.



Janice said...

Dear EddieBGoode, that is an interesting aspect I never thought of. Thank you for sharing it.

Dear Samos/David, thank you for your comment. I do know the origin of this drawing and can't really say why I didn't mention it. Sloppiness from my side. Hope I don't deserve such a disturbing punishment for it. I don't agree with you, though, that he is 'A beautiful graphics craftsman!' He is unique and interesting but not the most skilled in my opinion. And don't google Bishop, you will not find the images of Robert Bishop that way.



Alan said...

Very thrilling!

These images are inme too. they are shifting their shapes. They are deeply touching and they expose an emotional vulnerabilty too.

They are strong, fascinating and arousing.

Thanks again!