“Naked, except for one sock and her charm bracelet,
spread-eagled on the bed where my philter had felled her, so I foreglimpsed her;
a velvet hair ribbon was still clutched in her hand; her honey-brown body,
with the white negative image of a rudimentary swimsuit patterned against her tan, presented to me its pale breast buds;
in the rosy lamplight, a little pubic floss glistened on its plump hillock.”
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
“… You are disgusting _ child pornography is a sin!!!
All pornography is a sin _
I will pray for your release from this!!! God help you…”
“I don’t believe in censorship, but someone should kill that asshole.
To hide behind the mask of “art” is no excuse for what Trevor Brown does.”
“…You fucking loose screwball …
you are a fucking crackpot loonie piece of shit…
I think people like you should be burned at the stake like fucking witches,
you satanic mental bastard. You guys must have been beaten as a child or screwed by a chicken, you psycho…”
Books of Visitors at Trevor Brown’s Doll’s Hospital exhibition,
After the necrophiliac website Rotten, which turns into a show the most atrocious ways of dying, after the porno-encyclopaedias with hale eighty-year-old grandmas and voracious coprophagouses, it seems that only one theme has remained interdicted to the eyes of the contemporaneous West.
But the monster, hounded out the door, has already come back through the window. Just see the vast majority of advertising for children goods. Children photography _ from the nympholeptic fantasies of the deacon Lewis Carroll, to the advertising of childish lines of clothes, with their turbid and posed baby-models _ has never been innocent.
The artistic research of Trevor Brown inserts itself just in these unmentionable interstices of the visible. He works on the concept of limit, he pushes beyond the thresholds of representability, he takes away the glamour gloss of the beauty contest for little Misses World.
The sadomasochistic phenomenology applied to childhood brings to a reflection about the dynamics of power, of which children are exemplar victims. Sooner or later all the children are subjected to the power of adults, starting from little, innocent, neurotic injustices, going through mental manipulation, till the declinations of physical overwhelming.
This is a long and old story.
Pedagogy always rhymes with pederasty in Ancient Greece. The child is an imperfect and sinful being for the Church Fathers, and its whims are the evidence of the original sin. It’s common to marry ten-year girls during the Medieval times, although the law established the age of brides at least at twelve (the same age of Petrarca’s Laura, and Nabokov’s Lolita). The Inquisition doesn’t hesitate over torturing children and burning them on the stake. Lombroso says that children are evil by nature, and Freud echoes him claiming that children are perverse. In the Nineteenth Century, child prostitution is very widespread, and the regular clients of kinder-whores are respectable members of the middle class, well educated and refined, in search for purity.
The theme of hospitalization recurs in Trevor Brown’s works: paramedical tools, orthopaedic prosthesis, black eyes, as if some make-up was put on, puffy mouths, contused instead of lip-glossed. Because sores are sexy, and the signs of pain promise the availability to suffer more. The works of Brown represent innocence and its direct connection with sacrifice.
The doll is another recurring topos. Artificial copycat, completely passive and quiescent, the doll can be taken to pieces and whip-up at pleasure. Brown depicts Barbies with whips, dollies with open arms which invite you to play with them, battery-operated dolls with childish sexual organs in full visibility.
Sex_violence_death_children, like a mantra by Gilles de Rais. The components of Trevor Brown’s works reveal that the childhood universe can not be saved from Evil. Sooner or later, Evil arrives. It always arrives.
But one thing should not be forgotten: Evil is first of all in the world. Art can do nothing but reflect it.
For a symptomatologic refraction.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, Olympia Press, 1955
Trevor Brown, The Trevor Brown Black Box Recordings, Mondo Bizzarro Press, 2000.
Trevor Brown, My Alphabet, Treville, 1999.
Eveline Hasler, Die Vogelmacherin, Die Geschichte von Hexenkindern. Nagel & Kimche, Zürich 1997
E. Becchi, I bambini nella storia (Children in the History) , Laterza, 1994.
A. Giallongo, Il bambino medioevale (The Medieval Child), Dedalo, 1990.
F. Amodeo, Innocenti senza innocenza. I bambini e i grandi fotografi (Innocents without Innocence. Children and Great Photographers), Phototeca, 1981.
Published March the 22nd 2011 on Lobodilattice