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Sawdust Sex, 2013

Sawdust (before and after images), 25pg Catalogue

Exhibited at Paper Mountain Gallery, Western Australia

Sawdust Sex consists of sawdust spread evenly over the gallery floor in the size of a queen mattress. On the night before the opening an anonymous couple were invited to have sex on the sawdust. The artefact of their actions is left in the disturbed sawdust. The exhibition explored the limits of trace in relation to sex. For example, while the cum shot is undeniably the telos of pornography, if it is isolated and enlarged (as Andre Serrano has done) it becomes its own opposite. Paradoxically trace emerges as symbolic. The history of the representation of sex follows the binary of metaphor (art) and literalness (pornography). High art’s distaste for literalness plagues both narrative and medium.  Sawdust Sex combines sex with indexicality, not in the form of photography but in the form of sawdust covering the gallery floor. The anonymous sex act is recorded like footprints in the sand. While the sex act’s proximity is uncomfortable, it is rendered abstract by the medium of sawdust. What is revealed is that the obscene is not located in the ontology of imagery but rather in the social delineation of the acceptable and unacceptable. Following Jacques Rancière concept of the invisible made visible, Sawdust Sex attempts to show the location of what cannot be shown.


The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue written by Australian Porn Star Madison Missina and annotated by art theorists Francis Russell and Eva Bujalka.  

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