In the context of the #Metoo debate, the current exhibition at the Salon Berlin spans a discursive arc from William N. Copley (1919-1996), a forerunner of Pop Art, to the South African video artist Candice Breitz (* 1972). Both positions oppose discrimination against sex work - but from completely different perspectives.
Copley was fascinated by women, especially sex workers, to the point of obsession, and he captured them as muses in erotic, faceless and yet caricaturistic nudes. His unconventional images, however, stand in the classic tradition of painting dominated by the male gaze.
In Candice Breitz’ video installations TDLR (2017) and Sweat (2018), the sex workers themselves have a voice. In a performance with posters featuring slogans like NOT YOUR OBJECT, the sex workers present the situation from their perspective but at the same time allude to the utopia of a less patriarchal and less violent future.