A playful and provocative look at female sexuality is the focus of a Sotheby’s selling exhibition. ‘A Woman’s Right to Pleasure’, created in collaboration with BlackBook and inspired by the tome of the same name, traces female experience over the last century in a reframing of traditional narratives.
Sexuality is viewed through the lens of female artists, with works from the likes of Nan Goldin, Penny Slinger, Reka Nyari, Tracey Emin,
Pieces consider both classical motifs and cheeky double entendres, from Reka Nyari’s Pussy print, which intertwines the linguistic and the sexual, to Penny Slinger’s rethinking of everyday motifs. With a slight shift in perspective, domestic objects – long symbols of women’s repression – become markers for female pleasure.
Judy Chicago celebrates the tactility of unexpected materials with Submerged/Emerged #1, which draws sensual silhouettes in acrylic spray on pressed and moulded cast paper, while Sophia Wallace’s Άδάμας (Unconquerable) is a sculptural celebration of femininity in wood, fibreglass, steel and enamel.
Jewellery is also included, with Indian brand
The book that lends its name to the exhibition was released in 2020, and featured artists’ works alongside essays from Erica Jong and Roxane Gay. There is photography by both established and emerging names, including Cindy Sherman, Marilyn Minter, Carrie Mae Weems, Harley Weir, Mickalene Thomas and Martine Gutierrez, while written contributions from Erika Lust, Stoya, Alice Little, Vaginal Davis, Naana Otoo-Oyortey, Dani Lessnau, Natasha Stagg and Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova muse on the links between pleasure and empowerment. §