Hazel Dooney
A FEW WORDS ABOUT PORNO

For over a decade, the large, high-glossy enamel paintings for which I am best known have reflected and commented upon the way women are portrayed in advertising and entertainment media. Lately, I have been exploring the way young women in the developed world now exploit themselves using digital video and the social networking capabilities of the web to gain a measure of notoriety and fleeting celebrity. Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have proved that, these days, homespun porn can help rather than hinder a girl's career and if you have a celebrity partner, you can even profit from it.

In many ways, porn's creepy sensibility has insinuated itself into every aspect of popular culture, from the fashion photographs of Terry Richardson to the pop star, Rihanna's robotic S&M stage persona. Hardcore porn has achieved legitimacy and through the internet, has found its way into the hands of millions of middle-class suburbanites who might never have risked a foray into an actual 'adult store' to buy it over the counter. With the proliferation of more sophisticated home media and easy-to-use applications, many have experimented with producing it themselves.

As I was editing my own photography for PORNO, I became curious about the intimate snapshots others have made of themselves, and their lovers. I asked close friends if they'd allow me to view theirs. Most agreed. I decided to 'curate' these images and include them with my own work: I refined and reprinted them and in so doing, ‘appropriated’ them to form part of my own critical experience of the new porno’ aesthetic.

The intention of this show is not to pander to prurience but rather to explore the contemporary socio-sexual impulses of which all these photoshare evidence. Within even the crudest of them, there is not only an elemental tension but also a sadness: I suspect each is a failed attempt to locate some deeper truth about the subjects stripped naked, staring blankly at the camera, or fucking within them.

PORNO is, in many ways, my first truly objective, 'conceptual' work as an artist. Parodoxically, it is also my most intimate and subjective.


Hazel Dooney
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