by Clara Strunge
If you go to the Women’s Museum sometime soon, you will come across an exhibition somewhat out of the ordinary. In Eroticism In 3D you will be taken back in time to the 1850s with a pair of 3D glasses, when pornography had just entered the privacy of homes, and back to the present day, where it has gained a whole new dimension, namely in three-dimensional virtual reality. The exhibition seeks to give an insight into how erotic imagery has developed through history.
Through the 3D glass
Walking into the room, nothing extraordinary as such meets your gaze, but on a small table 3D glasses are lying on top of each other. The room is white and ordinary, but is suddenly given a new perspective: through the 3D lenses, the images of beautiful bare women are renewed and come alive.
“By taking one photo and then moving the camera at a distance equal to that between the eyes, and then taking another photo, they [Sir Charles and Henry Fox Talbot] managed to imitate a visual impression and create the first 3D photo: the stereo photo,” explains one of the posters to prepare you on what you are about to witness.
A series of what you ought to expect, though nothing looks the same, after you wear the 3D glasses (photos by Clara Strunge)
In 1850 and today
The exhibition suggests the spectator to take a stand on the way in which women are portrayed in pornography, how this has developed from photo to film, and its place now in virtual reality. The man behind the idea for this exhibition is Jesper Staffeldt Pedersen.
The concept was based on his art historical thesis: Neglected Photographs in which he examines stereo photography as a phenomenon. Staffeldt wants people to consider and take notice of how we look at each other: “We ought to think about what glasses we put on when we look at others,” he expressed.
Photos from the 1850s demonstrate the idea of the ‘ideal body’ at that time. Though different to today’s ideals, the fact is that an image of the perfect body was present already back then, as it is now. With this exhibition, Staffeldt intends to provoke people to think about where society is headed when it comes to our views of one another and of gender.
One of a kind
The historical arrangement of the exhibition includes objects from the Women’s Museum’s own collection that add an artistic dimension interacting with the artworks of Jane Pedersen and Ulrik Lund. The two Aarhus artists are known for winning the Kunstnernes Påskeudstilling 2016 prize for Kunsthal Aarhus with 3D photo series. Their art speaks about gender roles, sexual power relations and the desire of watching.
The Women’s Museum in Aarhus is in fact one of the few that exists in the world. Having the opportunity to visit is therefore a privilege not many are aware of. The museum focus on gender issues – those that have roots in the past, but also those that are still current to this day. Debate is therefore something that the Women’s Museum value, as it is in the debate that these issues are problematised and begin to be dealt with.
A visit to this exhibition is nicely complemented with the rest exhibitions at the museum, you won’t only see erotic images, but you get a chance to experiment with the different stereo machines. Don’t be shy and take a look inside; you might learn something unexpected.
Eroticism in 3D is one of the current exhibitions at the Women’s museum in Aarhus. It will be running until February 5, 2017. For more information about the museum and its other current and upcoming exhibitions, visit the website.
Women’s Museum in Denmark, Domkirkepladsen 5, Aarhus C.