Laura Gonzalez

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Nazareth Pacheco — 11 Aug 2006

necklaceIt is quite difficult to come by artists that are truly seductive. Doing my usual “seduction + artist” search in Google, I came across a page that related Louise Bourgeois to a Brazilian artist named Nazareth Pacheco. I was stunned by her pieces. It is as if someone has taken the lead from Man Ray’s Cadeau in the place where Chema Madoz, where his photographed objects, left it hanging. Like many other seductive artists (Sharon Kivland, Naia del Castillo, Mary Kelly, Victoria Civera…), she works with issues around the body, femininity, subjectivity and pain, which can be contextualised beautifully within psychoanalytic theory. I am beginning to wonder whether the gender issues pertaining to the study of seduction are not a lot greater than I perviously thought.

The themes relating art and design persist. Like with Meret Oppenheim’s Breakfast in Furs, Pacheco’s work are usable, wearable, in a sense, albeit dangerous, uncomfortable, painful. This is where reversible strategies, the challenges of seduction, manifests themselves at their best. She teases us with intense feeling, she entices us to stretch our arm take the necklace and sport it with our best evening dress… The crystals coexist with medical needles in the piece, needles used for stitching up wounds or incisions (real or metaphorical) with a suture.

Image credits: Nazareth Pacheco, Untited, 1999, Crystal, suture needles, 40 x 20 x 6 cm

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Lust for shoes — 10 Aug 2006

shoes Excellent material for my forthcoming article on shoes: Lee Glendinning (2006) Lust for shoes drives women to bin the bills. The Guardian, Thursday August 10, 2006

Shoes wield a Cinderella-like transformative power – you can go from demure to seductive in under 60 seconds.

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More dream material — 9 Aug 2006

I am standing in a space by a window with volets [shutters]. The word came to me only in French. In front of the is a horizontal space, like a low and wide windowsill. I am polishing a pair of small scissors. I recognise the scissors as they are those my mother has in her living room, by the sofa where she sits. The screw holding them together is very loose and their tip is bent. She uses them to cut facial hair. I am still polishing them when my newly married friends O. and C. come outside the window and chat to me. I can’t remember what they say but they don’t stay long. After they’ve gone, I continue polishing the scissors in my hand. When I finish, I place them down on the windowsill-like surface an take another unpolished pair of the same scissors. In the dream, I am surprised of the fact that I have so many of them…

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On pink — 4 Aug 2006

This was brought to my attention by the excellent blogger Momus. Needless to say, it has taken Freud’s case studies out of the top of my wish list

Pink book

Pink.
The Exposed Color in Contemporary Art and Culture.
Edited by Barbara Nemitz. Essays by Hideto Fuse, Karl Schawelka and Thomas von Taschitzki. Numerous contributing artists.
Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2006. 283 pp., 200 color illustrations, 6¬æx9¬?”.

Publisher’s Description From the rosy tint of wind-reddened cheeks to the first flush of arousal, from cherry blossoms to Pepto-Bismol, pink is a sweet, intimate, fragile and sickening shade. Few colors trigger more contradictory associations and emotions‚Äîtender, childish, plastic, pornographic‚Äîor are so symbolic of both high and low culture. Pink is sometimes awkward, even embarrassing, but on the other hand it is enjoyed and associated with the idea of beauty. Artists of all hues, from Jean-Honor?© Fragonard to Pablo Picasso, Caspar David Friedrich, Louise Bourgeois, Sylvie Fleury or Pipilotti Rist, have studied it in their works. The examples collected here include those and more, featuring Caspar David Friedrich, the early Joseph Beuys, Willem De Kooning, Andy Warhol and Yves Klein, not to mention contemporaries like Christo, Nan Goldin, Vanessa Beecroft, Wolfgang Tillmans and Takashi Murakami. In addition, Pink gathers work by a group of young talents from the Bauhaus University in Vienna and the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where working students cooperated over an interactive web site to investigate the color‚Äôs most current perceptions and uses. Their final selection suggests, among other things, that viewer reactions are determined by cultural factors. For example, the positive perception of pink in Japan seems strikingly masculine to the Western viewer; every year the country pauses to contemplate the pink blossoms of the cherry trees, which, after just a few days, drift like snow to the ground, symbols of the death of the samurai, who falls in the bloom of youth.

Pink Desire I bought this book solely on the relationship between its title ((Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-century France. At least it turned out to be quite interesting!)) and the cover and I know I will buy the above for similar reasons. Pink is the ultimate reversible colour. At least, this is what I found out when deadling with my web and print designer. When gathering material for the new look of the lauragonzalez site and stationery, I told him I wanted something very fleshy. I was more specific with the business cards: I said I wanted people (or their wives) not be able to know the provenance of the cards; they could wither come from a researcher or a call girl. if they managed to follow the links of the cards, the website’s content would clear part of the mystery. Noble Savage did a remarkable job, the basis of which was simple detachment, pink and the interaction of two contradictory fonts: Edwardian script and Helvetica Neue Ultra Light.

business card

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Seduction School — 4 Aug 2006

Channel 4’s Seduction School was peripherally interesting but the programme incurs in the same mistakes as any other TV programme on seduction.

Seduction SchoolThe presenters, who obviously are very conversant with seduction techniques, are trendy, beautiful and confident whereas the poor guinea pigs have traumas, physical issues and little or no experience. The aim of the programme was to get the latter in the position of the former, to convert them into seducers through teaching them general techniques (Kino ((Touching the person you are talking to)), SOI ((Statement of intention, telling someone you want something more that friendship))…).

They approach seduction from a subject’s point of view, how can s/he overcome their fears and whatever usually goes wrong, in order to obtain a “close” (whether phone, instant date, kiss). Instead of overcoming, Fran?ßois Roustang’s excellent analysis of Casanova’s memoirs talk about challenge, reversibility (through magic) and losing oneself. A seducer is a strategist, someone who schemes, who reads situations and has an array of responses to them. Seducers, from Valmont to Don Juan, are usually chamaleonic. I just couldn’t see Casanova, going to Marton and Nanette and thinking how to slip in the word “sexy” into a conversation.

I understand that this may not really be the best or quickest way of teaching someone, on national television, how to get a partner. To be fair to the teachers ((Johnny Saviour and Wayne Elise)), they did get results in 2 of the 3 cases: the fat guy got a phone number, the tall guy, a kiss. But they seemed to be more diven by the competition between each other than by their objects of desire.

Now, whereas I think the aims and intentions of the programme are very virtuous (afterall, they are part of a series called “Shape the Nation”), I don’t think that what they intend to do is seduction. My problem with it is the same I found when I went to see Boucher’s exhibition at the Wallace Museum. Although entitled Seductive Visions, I didn’t feel seduced, not could see Boucher having been seduced. Perhaps representations of seduction had been attempted. But that’s just he best way of making it just go away…

To seduce is difficult. And for one to become a seducer, a few conditions have to be met. Seduction is not necessarily a positive in the first place! But… ah, yes… the word itself seduces, helps to entice, to allure viewers and visitors. That is the trick of Seduction School: we are seduced by the idea. Once we have given up our time to learn about it, we realise we have been led astray and we will not get anything in return.

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Defining through opposition — 3 Aug 2006

Surely there must be a difference between seductive and tasteless objects… Hello Kitty has defitenitely led her astray… Otherwise, why would anyone do this to a Ferrari? Is it just that what is seductive for her is not seductive for me?

Does one’s perception change if one found out these pictures were photoshoped?

This Mitsubishi, however, is a true one:

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.