Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv District, Tel Aviv, 07/09/2009 - 08/08/2009

147 Dizengoff st


The exhibition "Sex / logy" addresses the points of contact and divergence between the notions of "sex" and "logos" in different manners. Among others, it introduces an ironic, critical reference to the field of sexology, a discipline that has evolved in the 20th and 21st century; striving to explore human sexuality, it spans the attempt to define normative sexuality, and presents deviations from that so-called "normalcy." Modern sexology draws on various disciplines, among them psychology, biology, sociology, etc. This multi-disciplinary approach renders its discourse variegated and replete with representations based on multiple languages. Although sexology is essentially an empirical science intended to explore, assess, and quantify human sexuality in a scientific, rational manner, over the years it has ceased to be a mere field of research, and has become an enterprise aimed at informing and educating the public for "better," namely more normative, sexuality. The formulation of these laws is subject to change in keeping with the conventions of society that either accepts or denounces various elements of sexuality in different periods. Diffusion exists between society and the individuals engaging in sexual activity considered non-normative. The acceptance of "divergent" sexual behavior, as well as the encounter between sex and the gaze, is highly charged. The objection to the field of sexology is manifested in different ways, primarily challenging the ability to describe this theme objectively and to explore it by means of empirical research methods, rather than pertaining to the engagement in sexuality per se. The exhibition ironically peruses the very ability to enquire into, teach, and describe sex via logos, introducing questions about the representations of sex and sexuality in culture, which largely preserve the sex/logos dichotomy. This split reflects a moralistic perception whereby sex is deemed a mere physical act, rather than an act involving cognition or analysis, thus giving rise to a perception of a coveted body, which is at the core of different notions of beauty. That image, however, is dissociated from sublime beauty, becoming cheapened due to the seductiveness that conveys over-accessibility. Within this configuration, logic is given the social function of restraint in order to regulate or mediate the image. Some of the images in the exhibition reflect the conflict between sex and society more forcefully, thus striving to undermine the perception of sexuality or, alternatively, create less common links between "sex" and "logos," challenging the conventional reading of sexuality. One of the most conspicuous qualities arising from the works in the show is the gap between the use of visual images and the use of language in general, and written texts in particular. In many works the visual image seems to represent a direct reference to "sex"—namely various images reflecting sexuality, physicality, etc.—while the text ostensibly represents the "logos"—the tools of cognition, analysis, and logic. Such a division puts the image in a low, despised place, and the text on a high, revered pedestal. Rather than reaffirm this prevalent division, the works on view often set out to ridicule and undermine it, striving to generate new points of contact between "sex" and "logos."

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Michal Heiman

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