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A porn video that is not pornographic

"Everyone has a different definition of pornography".

(Musée de l'Elysée)

A video on display at an art photography exhibition in Lausanne has raised questions about what constitutes pornography. It's part of the "Triumph of the Flesh" exhibition at the Musée de l'Elysée.

Entitled "Porno Video", the video was made by the controversial Swiss artist, Pipilotti Rist, and includes shots of naked people.

Museum director, William Ewing, says that in his view, the video is not of a pornographic nature, and is better described as poetic.

"Everyone has a different definition of pornography. Where does it start and what is it? I believe that the title of this video is more provocative than its contents."

Ewing added that pornography only begins when it implies notions of violence, and there was none of this in Rist's video: "On the contrary, her work is a celebration of the human body.

"I chose to include it because after watching the video I felt that flesh can be difficult to look at. The video is all the more interesting because it runs counter to the 'perfect flesh' of posters of the 'top models' you see advertising products in the shop windows of Swiss pharmacies."

The main part of the exhibition features work by photographers and artists who during the past two decades have depicted - among other things - the effects of suffering, illness and old age on the human body.

"During that period," says Ewing, "there's been a shift in art photography towards the darker side of the human body. It's a return to what you could say are the terrors of dealing with the flesh, as opposed to pushing it all into the background and concentrating on beautiful forms."

This is the third and final exhibition at the Musée de l'Elysée of a series, which is this year celebrating what it calls the century of the body. The two others were entitled "Triumph of the Fragment" and "Triumph of the Form".

swissinfo with agencies


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