Pleasure Plus 'Art or Porn?': Evelyn Tsitas + Judith Glover, Kate Just, Gerwyn Davies

The body is not just a vessel that helps us navigate our way through life. The body in all its forms – youth, adulthood, old age and the nuances in between – also provides pleasure in many guises.

RMIT Gallery's Pleasure exhibition celebrates artists who use the body to not only embellish and adorn but also as a personal and intimate metaphor. While we live in a world where sexualised imagery and online pornography are commonplace, artists have for centuries used the body as a canvas to explore identity and sexuality. Many of the works in Pleasure are highly erotic or graphic in their content. However, they depict sexuality through an alternative lens to mainstream pornography, providing the nuanced perspectives of voices usually silenced in an aggressive online pornographic culture.

In this provocative panel discussion, we pose the question: is there a distinction between art and pornography, and if so, what is it?

About the artists

Dr Judith Glover, from RMIT's industrial design program, specialises in design and sexual health innovation. According to her research, people are more likely to own a sex toy as they get older, and bodies start to fail us and we lose our sensitivity and control. Her bespoke ceramic hand-made dildos are about the acts of self love and pleasure, of slowing down and exploration.

Dr Kate Just is an award-winning contemporary artist and academic who has worked extensively with representations of the body, feminism, and queer arts theory and practice. In addition to her highly crafted solo artworks, Just often works socially and collaboratively within the community to create large scale, public projects that tackle significant social issues including sexual harassment and violence against women.

Gerwyn Davies' highly contrived photographic works feature playful self-transformation and invoke the parody, artifice and excess of a Camp sensibility. Each image revels in the spectacle and surface central to a Camp aesthetic and each act of concealment aims to resist a normative reading, queering the represented body through sculptural malformations.

Gerwyn Davies, Bed, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer