; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: Maria Eichhorn

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Maria Eichhorn

On now at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery up at UBC is an exhibit on German artist Maria Eichhorn. This marks the very first time that Eichhorn's work has ever been exhibited in Vancouver.

It's part sensual, part sensational, at times comedic, and an interesting look at censorship and sexuality.

The first iteration of Prohibited Imports was realized for an exhibition in Tokyo in 2003. For this occasion, Eichhorn sent several parcels of books from Berlin to Tokyo between 2000 and 2002 on the assumption that Japanese customs would open the parcels and censor the books. The book Mapplethorpe: Die gro├če Werkmonographie, among many others, was censored by the customs authorities at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, and was displayed in the 2003 exhibition alongside an uncensored copy of the same book. Unlike Canadian customs practice, which involves the seizure and then destruction of offending published material, the censors in Japan altered the images with a kind of sandpaper pen, scratching the paper and rubbing off the layer of printing ink from the paper’s surface and ultimately replacing parts of images with a white nimbus. For the exhibition at the Belkin Art Gallery, Eichhorn made new photographs of censored pages from three of the books she had sent between 2000 and 2002 to Tokyo: Jeff Koons, Wolfgang Tillmans and the Kinsey Institute. By coincidence, one of the works censored in the Tillmans book is in the Belkin’s permanent collection.

 Also in the exhibit are 20 three-minute long films that run off 8mm and need to be requested to have screened. Each film depicts a close-up shot of a sexual activity, i.e. french kissing, anal coitus, etc.

For the Belkin exhibit, three new films were commissioned: Japanese bondage, wax play, and needle play.

The Maria Eichhorn exhibit is on now until December 13.

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