Marialba Russo - Public Sex
Text(s) by Elisa Cuter, Goffredo Fofi, Cristiana Perrella
Photograph(s) by Marimba Russo
20.5 x 15 cm
Language: English, Italian
Publisher: Centro Pecci & NERO
Naples, late Seventies. On the city’s streets scandalous, indecent posters suddenly appeared, and then quickly disappeared, replaced by new images. They only lasted two years before being censored. The posters were taken from porn movies, with bodies of naked, obscene, tempting women. Their focus, however, was not only women’s bodies but also (and mostly) male desire and those years’ dominant macho imagery. Marialba Russo was immediately intrigued by those images and hence decided to photograph them. Her research soon became methodical. She took those pictures almost secretly, generating an obsession which became a systematic collection, a heterogeneous corpus made of different shots, poses, gazes, all kept together by an exaggerated, comical (or tragical) eroticism, by a blatantly unilateral, male representation.
But what motivated the actions of a woman who in the late Seventies photographed posters taken from porn movies? Curiosity or anger? And mostly: what does it mean to expose these pictures? Is it a way to ridicule them or to amplify their effect? Does showing these images mean to de-power the male-dominated ritual of porn movies or, rather, is exposing it a way to reinforce it, nurturing the inclination of representing women and their bodies as mere desired objects? These are some of the questions raised by Marialba Russo’s work, which the critical essays (by Goffredo Fofi and Elisa Cuter) attempt to answer in this book, pushing the reader to put into question the perception of women’s bodies, the exposition’s meaning and how it tackles and influences gender issues in our society.