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Adriana Marmorek - The Artist

Man has often wondered about the nature of the gaze when faced with the subject of sexuality.  Even more so when the subject isn't strictly sexual, but moving within the realm of desire.  Adriana Marmorek explores countless issues dealing with the politics of often stigmatized, usually misunderstood feminine desire.  She deliberately faces the viewers with their own misconceptions and embarrassments, which stem from the knowledge that desire, not sexuality is a deeply intimate, intensely personal matter.  The difference between sex and desire is fundamental in Marmorek's work, since sex has become a part of our daily repertory as spectators, and we are no longer disturbed by its openly displayed presence.  However, Marmorek's images dialogue with a type of very intimate desire and pleasure that act upon both thought and the body, and it is difficult to tell where bodily pleasure ends and thought starts desiring. 

When standing in the presence of the images of pleasure and desire that populate Marmorek's investigations, we quickly realise that the understanding of their meaning is inextricably linked with the politics of our gaze.  We realise we feel self aware because we know we are visually eavesdropping on someone's private pleasure, and in doing so we are forced to dialogue with our own.  In these problematic encounters with that other desire, that pleasure that exists outside us, we start configuring the knowledge of the politics that shape our becoming bodies of pleasure.

More than researching desire, her work is a constant construction, deconstruction and determination of a female identity around the architecture of female pleasure.  The first instance to be tackled is its stereotypical conception and portrayal, as opposed to what a woman would really experience as pleasure.  The female body is no longer an image of desire but an intensity of desire; a certain type of identity - not Marmorek's, not the photographed subject's, but perhaps our own plural, divided identity - is redefined along with the knowledge that in becoming political subjects of pleasure, women are no longer objects of desire.

Nonetheless, our voyeuristic gaze - conditioned by guilt and taboo - is not the only one that finds a plane of immanence in Marmorek's work.  A diametrically different gaze, that of a subject free of the restrictions to desire imposed by culture, also sets thought into motion when in attempting to find the philosophical structure of desire, ends up finding a political identity of difference along the way.

Marmorek's work dances around a crossing of several limits: those that determine the social acceptability of explicit display, those that undermine the difference between private and public, those that separate one identity from another, those that make the difference between desiring and objectifying, those that stress the separation between sexuality and desire, between thought and body, between form and content.  Furthermore, this suggestive dance seems to make us wonder whether there are in fact any limits, or whether we are dancing in the realm of Derrida's aporia, the impossibility of crossing a limit, or the inexistence of limits itself.

Text by: Paula Silva Díaz
Independent curator and art critic

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