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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

provocative or offensive

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

I had an idea, the other day, about a piece I wanted to create.

While discussing it with some friends, some thought that my piece was "a bit too much", which of course made me wanting to do it straight away and to be even more crude and incisive. I didn't.

I went instead online and look at offensive works, or what might have been thought and deemed offensive.

  1. We all know that a piece like Hirst's famous shark of The Physical Impossibility of Death has been considered offensive by both animal rights activists and artists and critiques who did not consider the piece a work of art;

  2. Marcus Harvey's painting of Myra Hindley in 1995 has been considered offensive as the portrait of one of the most sadistic murderers ever existed, a woman! and the question was and still is: did she deserve to be painted?

  3. Picasso was highly criticised for his painting of the five prostitutes in Les Damoiselle d'Avignon;

  4. Courbet's The Origin of the World not only was highly criticised as offensive, since it portrays simply the female genitalia, without even seeing the face of the woman. This painting is so controversial that not later than last year Facebook banned its reproduction; hence, my decision to show here below an epurated version of same (the prude me!)

  5. But even I draw the line when I think of works of art as Guitar Lesson by B Klossowsky which is simply a depiction of underage sex, in a very disturbing way (when is underage sex not disturbing, though?). So, this painting will not be represented here below.

  6. Still, even if I have been 40 years a Catholic, I am not too bothered by Be right back by Cattelan, depicting a Pope hit by a meteorite.

Banksy, immigration, Brexit, freedom, and me.

The question that I have first is:

Are these pieces controversial in themselves, as works of art, or have they been made controversial by the people who looked at them? A painting is not a controversial piece of art: a painting is a painting. A shark instead could be considered controversial as a work of art, as for the urinal made famous by Duchamp. A painting of the face of a woman is not controversial. A painting of five naked women, that's' not controversial either. It is our own perspective, the importance and value we give and where we draw the line.

Are these pieces audacious, obscene, blasphemous?

Are they used as a form of protest, to offend, to provoke a reaction of some sort, to be transgressive?

Or just for a laugh?

And where do we draw a line?

Let's think for a minute about my thought piece and let's call it XYZ: it's not a painting nor a sculpture. It's a series of objects which will carry a message.

The message is important to me. My message is not meant to be offensive, but definitely provocative. I want to provoke; mine is a form of protest; my idea is to construct a visual representation of something very dear to my heart WHICH STILL... many people might criticise for not being PC enough. And the whole point is that I do not want to be PC.

In my own little world, I want to represent what I think, and feel, and firmly believe.

Is my act of sitting there and sketching it, planning it, organising it already part of the work of art? I want it to be a bit of a satire, a want it to be divisive, controversial, critical and social.

As of now, it still stands in my house, my XYZ. I look at it, and I smile.

ps: I wrote this piece in Oct / Nov 2018. I have changed so much!

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