“No Soy Un Objeto Sexual” (I’m not a sexual object) reads the embroidered speech bubble, hanging from the ceiling of the exhibition space. In Barcelona-based French multidisciplinary artist Nathalie Rey’s eponymous solo exhibition, the objects are coming alive, and they want you to listen. Beware! The cute-looking objects, such as the pink stuffed rabbit in the corner, are not just passive elements. They have a life on their own. An autonomy. And, according to the artist, the capacity to take revenge on a subject that would have thought possessing them. In the centre, a garden of plastic breasts and crocheted penises reminds us of the Earthly delights depicted in Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings. Like that artist, Nathalie Rey’s art is allegorical, but refers to permission and liberation instead of tabooing. Developed during her artist residency at SomoS in Berlin, her exhibition addresses issues such as body politics,
sexual identity, nudity, and the balance between freedom and censorship.
With her study of the censorship during Franco’s dictatorship, and on a broader scale, the forms of censorship exercised throughout the History of Art, the artist grew interested in the prohibition that floats around nudity and sexuality. Playfully inhabiting the role of the censor herself, she cuts out the sexual parts from porn magazines and displays these mutilated images on the walls of the exhibition.
But even with such serious topics, Rey maintains a playful approach to her themes and ways of working; for instance using subversive crafting, children’s books, and toys mixed with more adult topics and materials. Always keeping the objects at the very center of her interest.
As curator Diana Padrón elucidates, “Nathalie Rey explores some of these questions through the formal research she usually carries out on everyday objects, with a special interest in those intended for the world of childhood, giving rise to different artistic formats such as installation, video, photography, and performance. She is interested in investigating the paradoxes and
concerns that run through the human being, ultimately trying to decipher that disturbing impulse that gives rise to eroticism.”