Hypocrisy is a vicious loop. It feeds on itself, creating ever grander and more elaborate theatres of illusion. Hypocrisy is both fear and mask. Those who create hypocrisy fear the truth coming to the surface. To them, hypocrisy is a divergence, a rout around the truth, an elaborate game of illusion on illusion.
Artists deal with illusion all the time, they always have. A painting, a sculpture, a set of words, a photograph. All may project the idea of a subject, an often tentative being, but of course all are just components. All are just paint, stone, paper, digital component, all creating an illusion of something else, something real that never can be.
One of the great tragedies of being an artist is that what you portray through your work can only ever be a fragment of what was meant.
So how does an artist deal with the illusion that is hypocrisy? Particularly moral hypocrisy. The Brazilian artist Franzini Valentim addresses just that theme in a series of work entitled "In the Dark: Where Everything is Allowed."
The story behind this particular theme of hypocritical moralism comes from the coup d'etat carried out in Brazil in 2016. It came surfing along on a tide of exaggerated and illusional moralising, and like all moralising, it was little more than a mask. A mask used by those who were out for their own gain, and a mask that allowed self-righteous indignation on the surface, whilst doing what was railed against, to go on behind the mask.
Sex is a particular problem for moralists. Their sex drive is as high as anyone else's, and their needs are just as many, but they have to appear as if their sexuality is tightly controlled, not because it is meant to be, but because the moralists have set the parameters for it to be so.
Franzini has produced a series of work that purports to show what is really going on behind the masks and illusions of the moralists. It is a sharp, witty and scathing portrayal of moral hypocrisy. In this series, the artist has taken the sexuality and sexual fantasies that come from the "good people", the moral upstanding citizens. He portrays what goes on "after dark", images that to the moralists can only be shown once the lights are out, and probably not even then!
Sex is sex. It is a natural function of the human being, of no more relevance to anyone else than blowing your nose or cleaning your ears. It is a natural function and should be seen as such. Franzini mocks those who would shutter sex behind barriers and barricades as if it was something beyond normal, which it clearly isn't.
Sexuality and eroticism are treated by the artist as colourful, punchy, part of the fun and pleasure of being alive, of being human. To lock parts of ourselves away until we are "In the Dark" is a great sadness, but also a great hypocrisy. To say that the scenes portrayed by Francini don't exist, is a betrayal of our nature, and a betrayal of self.
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