Culture
Art
THE LIMITED PLEASURE OF MALE BEAUTY

THE LIMITED PLEASURE OF MALE BEAUTY

Published June 20, 2012

The International Conference On Art And Translation, held from the May 24 to 26 at the Nordic House, turned out to contain a fine selection of carefully picked topics and artists from around the world. It featured three days of moving images and sounds, which inspired the audience and activated mind and consciousness. In particular, the concept of male beauty, as Swedish Artist Imri Sandström sees it, was of particular interest to me.

Imri opened with a new distinction between the perception of the male and the female body. While female beauty appears everywhere, is perceived and absorbed naturally, male beauty is far less an object. Imri claims that an exception is made in the moment of death. Death brings out the beauty of a male body, Imri says. She called her performance: ‘The Spelling And The Spell Of Dying Men.’ She explored relations between the Christian martyr Saint Sebastian and the writer Yukio Mishima. Mishima was born 1925 in Japan and committed ritual suicide, “seppuku,” in 1970. In his autobiographical novel ‘Confessions of a Mask,’ Mishima describes an erotic encounter with a reproduction of a painting of the saint. Sebastian is depicted in his most famous pose, arms above his head, one over the other, tied to a tree and pierced by arrows. This pose attracts the young Mishima, who falls in love with the picture and considers the dying body extremely beautiful.

A man in our society is associated with beauty only through a heroic, violent death. Society maintains a careful surveillance to ensure that men shall have no part in beauty. Physical beauty in the male, when considered an “object” in itself without any intermediate agent, is despised, and the profession of the male actor—which involves constantly being “seen”—is far from being accorded true respect. A strict rule is imposed when men are concerned. Namely: a man must under normal circumstances never permit his own objectification; he can only be objectified through the supreme action—which is, Mishima supposes, the moment of death, the moment when, even without being seen, the fiction of being seen and the beauty of the object are permitted.

Yet, the idea of limiting the perception of male beauty to the moment of death seems old fashioned to me. Death does not contribute to beauty but to decay. Notably, I think we should allow ourselves to enjoy male beauty at any moment, on the same level as female beauty is perceived and relished.



Culture
Art
Making Reykjavík Strange: Wunderland’s Phoenix Project

Making Reykjavík Strange: Wunderland’s Phoenix Project

by

One of the most intriguing events in the 2016 Reykjavík Arts Festival programme is an interactive performance by the Wunderland

Culture
Art
Arts Festival ’16:  Grapevine’s Quick ‘n’ Dirty Guide

Arts Festival ’16: Grapevine’s Quick ‘n’ Dirty Guide

by and

The Reykjavík Arts Festival is a breath of fresh summer air to the city’s cultural scene, bringing together a rich

Culture
Art
This Complex World: Reykjavík Arts Festival Begins

This Complex World: Reykjavík Arts Festival Begins

by and

Along with the ever-lighter nights and the occasional excitement of double-digit temperatures, the Reykjavík Arts Festival is a welcome harbinger

Culture
Art
Opening Today: Berlinde De Bruyckere

Opening Today: Berlinde De Bruyckere

by

Escape into the mind of Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere at the National Gallery of Iceland’s latest exhibition. Berlinde’s paintings

Culture
Art
Words Of Interest: For The Love Of Raisins

Words Of Interest: For The Love Of Raisins

by

Icelanders seem to be very fond of raisins. “Rúsínan í pylsuendanum” is a mouthful to say. It’s the Icelandic equivalent

Culture
Art
Artist Talk With Photographer Kjartan Hreinsson

Artist Talk With Photographer Kjartan Hreinsson

by

Kjartan Hreinsson is a photographer, collector and brandophile. He has caught the eyes of plenty with his spontaneous photography of

Show Me More!