Staeck: Pornografie

Staeck, Klaus
Publisher: Steidl
Binding: Paperback
Measurements: 20.00 x 25.00 cm

Here is a bewildering collection of curios of everyday violence: press photos of street fights, naked victims of war, and tortured prisoners follow staged body-art pictures and a wide array of objects colored by desire, power, exposure, and surveillance. With a name that refers to x-rated images and the obscene, the works shown in Pornografie may be far from a voyeur’s expectations. Indeed, it is filled with obscene photos, but, as the philosopher Herbert Marcuse put it: It’s not the picture of a naked woman that’s obscene but that of a general who shows off his medals earned in a war of aggression. The book is a complete work of art, offensive in every sense of the word, and as an artistic manifesto about violence in the 21st century, it couldn’t be any more current, especially given movements like activist art. Pornografie was first published in 1971, and has subsequently become an outstanding and timeless document of political artwork.
Here is a confusing collection of curios of everyday violence: press photos of street fights, naked victims of war, and tortured prisoners follow staged body-art pictures and a wide array of objects colored by desire, power, exposure, and surveillance. With a name that refers to x-rated images and the obscene, the works shown in Pornografie are in actuality far from a voyeur’s expectations. Indeed, it is filled with obscene photos, but, as the philosopher Herbert Marcuse put it: It’s not the picture of a naked woman that’s obscene but that of a general who shows off his medals earned in a war of aggression. The book is a complete work of art, offensive in every sense of the word, and as an artistic manifesto about violence in the 21st century, it couldn’t be any more current, especially given movements like activist art. But Pornografie was first published in 1971, a work that challenged and provided artistic response to violence which, over the decades has become an outstanding and timeless document of political artwork.

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