Dovilė Vanagaitė. Scientific essay Homosexuality in Lithuania Contemporary Art
Adam Mickiewicz University, History of art. Poland – Poznan, 2009
This year the artist Remigijus Venckus in Panevėžys presented the photos exhibition “Our men” and this exposition is caused the agiotage. In this project appeared eighteen models and photos started to take since 2000 years. The exhibition was exhibited naked photos of men and clearly visible genitalia. In some photographs men took each other by the hand and exposure of the hands was seen as an expression of their sexual orientation. In a lively debate about homosexuality, the author openly harangue about what in particular the exhibition saw the other. It was the artist’s provocation to public.
Photographer wants to show the social problems in this exhibition and he didn’t focus of artistic composition or aesthetics. R. Venckus provokes our liberal society with male nudity. When a woman’s naked body is demonstrated in all possible public images from the media to advertising, the nude body of a man lives with the fear and loathing. The contacts between the men’s in the photographs are an expression of libido, although it may have many other meanings. Remigijus is one of the first artists of Lithuania presents the works of such content.
The exhibition has been named public pornography and distribution of gay culture. The artist didn’t say or explain that these men are homosexual; they just have some contact in photos and everyone the exhibition visitors could interpret for themselves. The basic idea was to draw attention to the male body. Why these photographs can be seen homosexuality characters? Maybe watching the bodies of a sudden they are placed in a strictly regulated sex niche? When in photos we see one naked man, he isn’t homosexual, but two naked men image are homosexual symbol. People just have stereotyped thinking and unable to see more. It seems that sexual orientation isn’t natural, but a product of modern culture.
Lithuania Christian world was again dissatisfied. In Christianity the nude body is perceived like the sin. For the improper behavior of body must be hard to pay. In this case, the man partly directed against nature. Such an approach, it appears that the soul is created by God and the body is conceived Lucifer. Paradoxical, but it can be seen that the hatred of the body turns against the religion. Sexy nude body is an expression of religious themes. Naked Christ on the cross, in part, may seem no less sexy than the popular culture of naked body to regulate the standards. Angels are viewed quite sexual and the first people on earth were also nude. They are afraid of themselves.
The first problem is the male nudity. If in this exhibition would have been the naked women photographs the society didn’t reaction like now. For example nude woman’s photo you can see in the bus station and anyone didn’t say that is dirty. The women who were in exhibition said to see what men usually hide in the trousers isn’t so nice. People are more comfortable to see with clothes, because they are nude ours attention are in genital. “Many, and not simply the uninformed viewer, believe that the male nude should not photographed or should be photographed in only discreet (read “nongenital”) ways.” I think it is culture fault, when the male nude is homeless, because in the street especially in summer you can see lot women are wearing only minimal clothing, they look sexy and it is norm. The female nudity has much currency. Image of man in society isn’t provocative and the woman is, because he always entices the man with sexy appearance.
The most discussion thing is male and female image in photos. Female image is passive, but male is active. The male function is active. The male body is his penis and penis can have an erection and it symbolizes force and action. For this functions penis is desire itself, because he have some power. This is linked to the brutal instinct of a man unable to control. In fact, a man controlled by the sex scene and the satisfaction are achievement through the penis. “The female body eclipsed the male as the instrument for the spectacle, and men were the performers, audience, and patrons.” The man function is control woman, but now everything is changing, because the male starts to depict in the same position like female. Then man position start to be passive like woman it compare with homosexuality, because a man loses his traditional manhood.
The exhibition “Our men” is the perfect example of homophobia. The exhibition visitors didn’t see men but saw Jews. “Central of homophobia is the notion that if a man does not dominate and control conditions they will control and dominate him, and he will thereby lose his masculinity.” In this exhibition the men are in quite romantic poses. Can be and other reason, because two men looks like couple and in this couple both person are dominate, the penis is of power and privilege. In heterosexuality couple man is dominate and woman is passive, maybe traditional couple afraid when gay’s couple can have more activity than them and can be more stronger in society.
The exhibition wasn’t directly told that the gay couples, men jus have some contact. In ours society male can’t touch each other, they must to be cold and always maintain a certain distance. For example in Turkey then man meet other man, they kiss to one another in the cheek and it is a welcome ritual. This gesture didn’t tell something about sexuality. If two men love each other in society it looks like the bigger sin, but cannot see then this people like everyone have feelings and want to be love. In art we have so beautify gay’s couple image and it isn’t disgusting. George Quaintance picture “Moonlight” (1953) is so romantic and lyric and here are two nude men. The famous gay’s artist couples like Gilbert and Greorge, and Pierre and Gilles, they show their relations to the world and it isn’t immoral. The exhibitions “Our men” want to shock society and to show when everyone must to accept nude body, the people is born naked and male nudity have the same low like female. Lithuanian people have a big homophobia and they unacceptable things make like non-existent. In Soviet times has been said that there isn’t sex, but these days they say when in Lithuania isn’t homosexual.