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Tommy Poppers Festival (7) --- Is the world full of wanking wankers?


Tommy Poppers (Mr. E.) has appeared numerous times on LustSpiel, and here we have a retrospective of his work: this is Part VII, which appeared first on our pages on August 24, 2015


Wank is a word that is often used to describe art installations, but here at the House of Male in Chiang Mai, they're inverting this notion, and banking on wanking to make them more relevant and daring than anything Clayton Pettet can come up with; and I have to say, I love them for it. Is it just me or, is the world full of wanking wankers?

In Thailand, the term development appears to have become synonymous with the building of over-priced condos and shopping malls that nobody can afford. Art installations here are seldom very challenging, and those that are any good, are probably copies from a graduate show at central St. Martins – see for more on performance art.

Like Antony Gormley's work, House of Male plays on the intricate relationships between human beings and their environment. Unlike Gormley's work, many of the figures are sculpted to a more classical ideal, with more gym worked torsos and ripped muscle tone. It's definitely a more fuckable exhibition here than anything you might see in London.

"My lonesome cowboy," Takashi Murakami (Just in case you were wondering: this little statue was sold at auction of Sotherby's New York for a cool 15 million+ in May 2008)

Wandering through the exhibition, I felt moments of solitude; “How do I relate to the world?”

Other times, I felt a deep affinity to my fellow man; “Aren't we all just a bunch of dirty old wankers?”
There are many wonderful eye-catching exhibits from around the world on display. In fact, I'd go as far as to call the whole experience seminal.

I was initially drawn to Anger Wank! a pushy piece from China, which pins you to the wall with purpose. It tears at your nipples with a furious rage, and it shouts butch obscenities at you. It delights in making you feel particularly worthless, but this is all just empty bravado, face up to it and it crumbles. Similar in rhythm and pace is Speed Wank! from South Korea. This is no doubt inspired by a mild amphetamine induced psychosis; yet it has a much gentler delivery than the Chinese work, at times it is almost apologetic, I'd be tempted to call it tender.

Lazy Thai Wank! offers a completely different experience altogether. It clumsily fumbles for your attention with a disinterested aura, at times you wonder why it's even there; does it care? It is a complete anathema. It retains the capacity to stimulate your interest with one hand, while up-loading pictures onto Facebook with the other. All in all, it beautifully counters the other exhibits, and perfectly encapsulates the modern aesthetic of alienation.

For me House of Male is a masterstroke on the canvas of international relations. It manages to deliver on the promise of its name, without conforming to too many preconceived notions of masculinity. It has been interesting to go to an exhilarating exhibition that is self consciously, a load of wank.

Comments

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