Sometime it is difficult to know when a person's passion and engagement with something fits within the definition of the norm. Almost everyone experience certain stimuli provoking strong reactions. And nearly everyone has a predisposition to fetishistic interests.
The origins of fetishism can be linked to religious practices. A German-Austrian psychiatrist and one of the founders of modern sexology Kraft-Ebing stated: "There is an analogy between erotic and religious fetishism, which is expressed in feelings reaching ecstasy." After a while, the role of the object of adoration becomes even more significant, and its presence is the main condition for obtaining satisfaction. Sometimes a fetish becomes an independent object of attraction, replacing the object of love, completely gaining independence from the partner or owner of the thing. In this case, any emotional connection and love relationship with another person is disrupted. There is also a tendency to perceive objects of sexual fetishism as "spiritualized", since a sexual fetish is associated with a person and is perceived as having a magical effect, providing the power of lust.
Some scientists are still inclined to pathologize fetishism, whereas others do not see it as a sexual disorder. For example, an American psychologist D. M. Reinish replaces the sexual fetish from the field of psychopathology to the domain of anthropology and further to the sphere of aesthetics. In December 2018, the World Health Organization excluded sexual fetishism from the International Classification of Diseases (the document will come into force on January 1, 2022).
In his project, the artist studies the spectrum of sexual fetishes and its aesthetic components.
The project considers clichés and their use to manipulating public opinion. Taking as his material pages from the Soviet Lithuanian cinema magazine Kinas of 1945–1956, the author takes images from some of the era’s cult film classics showing “innocent” same-sex relationships – comrades at work, friends sharing a moment – and casts them in a different light. Abstracted from their original context, these images take on unintended meanings, referencing sexual fetishes.
In the not-too-distant past era of censorship and the state’s control over culture, photography was a vehicle for political messages, a tool to help govern the people. Is it enough to put an image in a different light to have its meaning transformed? How easy is it to influence people? And how do “public opinion” and popular clichés distort our view of the world?
Technical details: Illustrations in ink, digitized and printed on transparent film, placed on glass over issues of the Soviet Lithuanian cinema magazine Kinas from 1954–1956.