'Pure Love' March 2009
Solo exhibition at Space In Between, London
Looking out for Love
In sensory stimulation rooms for the hard of thinking, slivery mummy-lovers snuggle up to their furry, fluorescent surrogates. Hands and colours meld in a libidinous ménage as the stark desert of autoeroticism finally opens on to a plain of external affection. Not a mutual affection, however—these are mere onanistic aids for the wretched, bored of fingering their own bum in front of the mirror. Besides, true affection can’t be found in the sycophantic coquetry of bright colours and soft surfaces. The truly needy dare not speak in such bold textures. Instead, they make others do it for them.
Direct requests to have ones desires fulfilled are the realm of pure fantasy: Hollywood heroines that demand that their male counterpart ‘kiss me’; prostitutes that insist that clients ‘fuck me’. Each of these is a projection of our own desires. We don’t simply want to be kissed, we want to be wanted to be kissed; perpetually obfuscating the truth of our wretched neediness and replacing it with the imaginary neediness of the other.
And then there is the boorish forwardness of the sexually overwhelming: the unwanted request from the self-assertive individual who apes our desires in a complete inversion of the rules. ‘Kiss me’, he demands, with none of the faux submissive assertiveness of the Hollywood heroine. Rather than desire masquerading as audacity we find ourselves faced with an audacity masquerading as desire—without doubt, a manifestation of power.
The idea of ‘pure love’ unsettles me, to say the least. Imagine love without all the elaborate language games—like raw unlubricated sex, perhaps? To fulfil the Freudian emancipatory dream of exposing the pure, unadulterated libido by sheering away all our anxieties and repressiveness is conceivably naïve. Chafed by a sensory overindulgence, we might realise that ‘pure love’ is something more akin to ‘pure pain’. Or worse still, beneath the obfuscatory mush of refracted desires we might find that what we’re left with is nothing at all. A veritable void of ‘pure love’.