October 06, 2004

worlds of silence

We have posted on Balthus before---Trevor has done so here. Gary's posts are here and here. I thought that I would post soem more images in the light of the media headlines about child pornography and the shift to ISP-based filtering that would allow authorities to regulate the content available to computer users.

Balthus, Girl and Cat, 1937

Many of Balthus' paintings are about prepubertal girls in domestic situations who are discovering their sexuality. I presume these paintings would seen as the work of a dirty old aristocrat who got off on the bodies of young girls:a sexual pervert. The erotic appeal of the painting would be seen as quite calculated.

They would be seen as akin to, and a precursor of mainstream pornography's obsession with female "teens" and our market culture's fetishisation of girls and young women. It's teen porn that encourages consumers to see pre-pubescent girls and teenagers as sexual objects and as always sexually available.

Balthus' paintings express a world very different from ours. Another world in fact. What strikes me about this painting and many like it is how the common place gestures in everyday life hide a tragic universe of silence.

Balthus5Golden Days.jpg
Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola), Sunny Days

That kind of world is a commonplace for many of us.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at October 6, 2004 06:26 AM | TrackBack
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