Monthly Archives: May 2009

Bosch’s “hill woman” is Icon of Erotic Art #45

Bosch (from the Triptych of The Temptation of St. Anthony)

Bosch (from the Triptych of The Temptation of St. Anthony)

On my latest visit[1] to the KMSKB, I took some detailed photos of Bosch‘s The Temptation of St. Anthony (Bosch). The one shown above is from the left panel. I’ve chosen the rather bawdy depiction of a woman seated on all fours, with here belly and genital area being a whole in a hill. Depicting women as landscapes has been celebrated in several somatopia.

Somatopia is a term coined by Darby Lewes to denote texts composed of, or designed for the human body. Example include Merryland (1740) and Erotopolis: The Present State of Bettyland (1684).

An early novel, A New Description of Merryland. Containing a Topographical, Geographical and Natural History of that Country[2] (1740), “a fruitful and delicious country,” by Thomas Stretzer, depicted the female body as a landscape that men explore, till, and plow. For example, he writes: “Her valleys are like Eden, her hills like Lebanon, she is a paradise of pleasure and a garden of delight.” Sometimes, the metaphor of female form = landscape changes, but the objectification of the female body remains intact; only the image is changed, as when, for example, in another passage, the novel’s narrator, Roger Pheuquewell, describes the uterus (“Utrs,” as the author simply contracts vowels without graphical indication) as resembling “one of our common pint bottles, with the neck downwards.” It is remarkable, he says, for expanding infinitely, the more it is filled, and contracting when there is no crop to hold. Similarly, in Charles Cotton‘s Erotopolis: The Present State of Bettyland (1684), the female body is an island farmed by men.

Bosch’s “hill woman” shown above, and the genre of sexual somatopia is icon of erotic art #45.

RIP Mort Abrahams (1916 – 2009)

Mort Abrahams (born 1916 – died 28 May, 2009) was an American film and television producer.

Among his credits are nine episodes of spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and, as associate producer, Doctor Dolittle (1967), Planet of the Apes (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), co-writing the story of the latter.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. theme[1] by Space Age Popper Hugo Montenegro

Dancing with death

via Dansen met de Dood

Dansen met de Dood

A friend lent me her copy of the book above, an excellent compendium of visuals of the perennial favourite dance of death theme. Dansen met de Dood is a Dutch language book on the iconography of dance of death by Johan De Soete, Harry Van Royen and Dirk Vanclooster. Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre (French), Danza Macabra (Italian) or Totentanz (German), is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the dance of death unites all. La Danse Macabre consists of the personified death leading a row of dancing figures from all walks of life to the grave—typically with an emperor, king, pope, monk, youngster, beautiful girl, all skeletal. They were produced to remind people of how fragile their lives were and how vain the glories of earthly life were. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest artistic examples are in a cemetery (Cimetière des Innocents) in Paris from 1424.

The book was based on a 2008 exhibition in the Flemish city of Koksijde. It featured manuscripts of the Great Seminary in Bruges and the Catharijne convent in Utrecht, objects and graphic work by Wim Delvoye, Pierre Alechinsky, Paul Delvaux, Frans Masereel, James Ensor, Käthe Kollwitz, Félicien Rops and Hans Holbein.

The images below were new to me.

via Walter Draesner Ein Totentanz, nach Scherenschnitten von Walter Draesner mit Geleitwort von Max von Boehn. Berlin: B. Behrs. Max von Boehn - 1922

Walter Draesner Ein Totentanz, nach Scherenschnitten von Walter Draesner mit Geleitwort von Max von Boehn(1922). With a preface by Max von Boehn

Supporting two minorities at once

Election time is upon us in Belgium. Today I tore off some extreme right election posters (see photo). An old and ugly supporter (they all are) of the particular party whose posters I was vandalizing shouted from a distance, inquiring why I was doing it. Reductive militantism, is what I decided to coin it.

For years I did not vote in a country where voting is compulsory. Since I started to vote in my mid-thirties I’ve consistently voted for immigrant women candidates, supporting two minorities at once.

International Times online archives

Via  « boredom is always counter-revolutionary

The full run of the International Times has been archived online[1].

The International Times (it or IT) was an underground paper started in 1966 in the UK, based in central London. Editors and writers included founders John Hopkins (Hoppy), Barry Miles and Jim Haynes. ITs first editor was the recently deceased playwright Tom McGrath. Singer of the Deviants Mick Farren, Jack Moore and avant-garde writer Bill Levy were closely involved. The name International Times was changed to just “it” for a time after objections from The Times newspaper. However, it was anyway generally referred to by the letters “I-T”.

Previously at Jahsonic[2].

RIP Stanley Chapman (1925 – 2009)

RIP Stanley Chapman (1925 – 2009)[1]

via RIP  Stanley Chapman (1925 - 2009)  Fig.3 Stanley Chapman Cover illustration for Subsidia Pataphysica, no.1, 19 December              1965enlarge


Cover illustration for Subsidia Pataphysica, no.1, 19 December 1965

Stanley Chapman (19252009) was a British architect, designer, translator and writer. His interests included theatre and pataphysics. He was involved with founding the National Theatre of London, was a member of Oulipo of the year 1960, founder of the Outrapo and a member also of the French Collège de ‘Pataphysique, president the London Institute of ‘Pataphysics and the Lewis Carroll Society. His English translation of Hundred Thousand Billion Poems was received with “admiring stupefaction” by Raymond Queneau.

RIP Christopher Gray (1942 – 2009)

RIP Christopher Gray (1942 – 2009)

Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974) – Christopher Gray [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Christopher Gray is a British writer and activist, editor of Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974). He was a member of the British SI and of King Mob.

Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974) is an anthology of Situationist texts edited by British activist Christopher Gray. The original edition was designed by Jamie Reid.

Pam Grier@60

via here.

Pamela Suzette Grier (born May 26, 1949) is an iconic American actress. She came to fame in the early 1970s, after starring in a string of moderately successful women-in-prison and blaxploitation films, and has generally remained in the public eye, starring in B-movies such as 1974’s Foxy Brown, and in mainstream films such as Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film, Jackie Brown.

Charles Fourier’s Hierarchy of Cuckoldry (1924)

Charles Fourier: Hiérarchie du cocuage – Les presses du réel (book) Hiérarchie du cocuage by Charles Fourier (1924).

Charles Fourier‘s Hiérarchie du cocuage (1924)

“… let us first establish a hierarchy of cuckoldry and introduce into this serious debate the beacon of analytic method, which the philosophers regard as the path to truth. ”

“Among cuckolds, it is possible to distinguish nine degrees of cuckoldry, both among men and women, for women are cuckolded far more often than men; indeed if the husband has horns as tall as a stag’s antlers, the wife’s may be said to be as high as the branches of a tree.” —The theory of the four movements [1]

I stumbled upon this work via the excellent Anton Constandse Eros – de waan der zinnen (1977). The hierarchy of cuckoldry is part of a defense of free love.

The Last Days of Emma Blank by Alex van Warmerdam


The Last Days of Emma Blank[1] by Alex van Warmerdam

Chances are slim that you come across this film if you live outside of Europe or even Dutch-speaking countries, but if you see this film playing near you, don’t miss it. Warmerdam is the best director of The Netherlands and has been for some time now. His palmares includes Abel (1986), The Northerners (1992), Little Tony (1998), Grimm (2003)  and Waiter (2006).

The Last Days of Emma Blank (Dutch original: De Laatste dagen van Emma Blank) is a Dutch film by Alex van Warmerdam released in May 2009. The film is co-produced with La Parti Productions in Belgium and is the story of Emma Blank, a rich woman who is incurably ill and who is living her last days. She is surrounded by personnel who patiently await her death, which takes longer that originally envisioned.