In the installation “Aphroditae”, I explore the notions of “love” and “lust”: concepts that are very familiar to our contemporary society, yet remain elusive and conflicting. While we have been influenced by the “Eros” for as long as we have existed, our relationship to them has shifted throughout cultural and religious influence.
The aesthetic elements of the installation refer to the history of the goddess Aphrodite but are mixed with harrowing images of attractive and sexual images of de-personified men, taken from erotica and dating apps. While these images can cause arousal at first glance, the lack of a personal connection starts to create an emotional distance.
This causes questions to arise as to our attitude towards these facets of our desire: are we looking for love, or instant gratification through impersonal sexual encounters? Can the two needs co-exist, or are they mutually exclusive? And how do we personally relate to them?
While ancient Greek culture allowed for a more open interpretation of these feelings, ours deals with it in a more compartmentalized approach. Some do not allow themselves to succumb to the allure of lust, seeing it as a weakness and bestial impulse. Others freely give in to this desire, seeing sex and fulfillment as a currency that is exchanged between people without the need for personal intimacy or connection. The one closes themselves to the bodily pleasure that is readily available, while the other risks losing themselves in the temptation of the anonymous flesh.
Can we find a new middle ground for these primordial desires, as the Greeks did, or are our contemporary rituals and Christian-influenced outlook prohibiting our connection to them?