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by Dr Aaron Rosen - Okt 2010


(...) There is a tendency to think that sexuality is either constructed or determined; to think that if it is constructed, it is in some sense free, and if it is determined, it is in some sense fixed. These oppositions do not describe the complexity of what is at stake in any effort to take account of the conditions under which sex and sexuality are assumed. The 'performative' dimension of construction is precisely the forced reiteration of norms... Performativity is neither free play nor theatrical self-presentation; nor can it be equated with performance.

In other words, while we cannot simply wish away the norms of a given cultural context, neither are we doomed slavishly to repeat them. In our constant performance of gender and sexuality we enact, adapt, and at times challenge the norms that condition us. Religion generates and sustains some of the most visible norms, and it is no wonder that artists seeking to destabilize these expectations have often revisited the heroes and saints of the religious past in order to read them, for instance, as icons of homosexual desire like Adi Nes and Yves De Brabander. (...)

In his 'Ecce Homo' series, De Brabander re-imagines religious figures in modern settings with homoerotic undertones. In casting St Sebastian as an object of homoerotic desire, De Brabander takes inspiration from a long line of masters including Andrea Mantegna, El Greco and Guido Reni, who often depict the saint with little or no clothing, writhing towards the viewer as arrows pierce his flesh. (...)

image: Saint Sebastian (from Ecce Homo. Antwerp, 2008) in Art & Religion.


selfportrait in antwerp studio
Selfportrait in Antwerp studio. 2020
at work in antwerp studio
At work in Antwerp studio. 2020