Roman Road is pleased to present MDAM, a duo exhibition by Mia Dudek and Alix Marie, two recent graduates from the Royal College of Art, London. The exhibition addresses themes of postgenderism and considers how humans are progressively losing contact with the physical body through the increasing automation of sexual pleasure.
With her exhibited works in MDAM, Mia Dudek investigates the idea of a broken physicality between individuals. As visitors enter the gallery through the open passage, on each side of the void is a part of a photograph by Dudek representing an abstracted, fragmented body that has been split into two, detaching and reformalising it into new structures. The veins in the depicted model’s pale skin conjure a sense of fragility and allude to a translucent and corporeal surface that has sensitivity to touch. Directly after, visitors are confronted with Body Recast III (2017), a large concrete wall through which Dudek has echoed the texture of the skin, metamorphosing and embodying sensory consciousness to an unyielding, inanimate object. She has created holes through the sculpture, which connote a sense of the physicality being broken and a rupture in the barrier that allows for human interconnectivity. At the same time, these elements suggest ‘glory holes’, holes located in partition walls made to facilitate anonymous sex between humans, and generate further a discussion of detached sexuality.
Beyond Dudek’s wall, we see the idea of humans losing touch and emotional connectivity further explored in Alix Marie’s recent sculptural works created by using and casting various Japanese sex toys. For her Pharmacopornographic Relic (2017), Marie has employed one of the chemicals used to process photographic film, growing a double dildo out of photographic bleach crystals. She is currently researching into mass-produced anthropomorphic objects and the impact of sex technology on society. Looking at dildos and flesh lights in particular, which are machine-made objects designed to resemble the look and feel of male and female genitalia, Marie exposes the artificiality and evolution of these devices. The exhibition includes two snake-like figures; the curvy shapes of serpent bodies are mimicked in ribbed ventilation pipes and the heads are made from inside-out flesh lights, revealing the 3D interior of such objects devised to imitate a woman’s vagina. While Marie’s Eve (2017), the first of these pieces is shown on the floor, her Lilith (2017) is mounted on the wall and resembles a fountain as water spurts from the snake’s end into a chemical waste barrel. A substance known as a wetting agent, another chemical used in photographic film processing, has been employed to create foam in the barrel and at once a sexual double entendre linked to photography.
The use of dildos and other sexual prosthetics by both female and male bodies essentially curtails the hegemonic male aura of these objects. As Donna Haraway suggests in her essay A Cyborg Manifesto (1985), the model of a post-gender world will be oblivious to patriarchal views on sex and gender and can potentially help to recode our language to initiate a more free and equal environment. As society continues to evolve and with the increasing automation of sexual pleasure, it can be said that we have begun to deconstruct the binary of traditional gender roles and to rethink perspectives on sexuality. MDAM presents the work of two young artists who investigate and respond to such changing notions of the body and human connectivity in our world today.