For this module I am intending to follow on from a project I had began for ‘photographing the narrative’. This project was exploring gay culture, the issues that surround this community and how I personally responded to them. I had purposely left the project open, as a work in progress, that I could re-visit it and explore other avenues.
Since leaving that project I have been exploring visual representations of gay men, which I believe is going to inform the outcome of this module. I was researching into the dipiction of gay men around the time of the aids epedemic, and found how this community were connected with the disease. Using Nicholas Nixon’s work ‘people with aids’ as an illustration of this point. Nixon’s portraits from this series (whether intentional or not) gave aids a body to associate with and some of the subjects he photographed were gay men.
To tackle these complications of using the body as a form of representation the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres took a different approach to dipicting aids. His still life photograph (below) features an unmade bed, which he describes as being a memorial to his late partner who had died of aids one year before this photograph was exhibited. Gonzalez-Torres’s intention was to associate the grief signified in his work with aids and not a human form, as a way of avoiding stigmatising a minority.
I intend to explore how other artists have used a similar approach to Felix Gonzalez-Torres, by not using the body as a means of representation.
What I also aim to look into is gay rights within other countries, as it is an issue that keeps cropping up lately. Such as the anti-gay laws recently passed within Arizona, Uganda and Russia. I am going to explore this topic more in depth, as I am interested in how drastically they conflict with our own society. And it makes me realise the gay community isn’t one just restricted to our own countries borders, but spreads out worldwide and the way in which this community is treated can change enormously.