As an artist and researcher, I present my box-assemblages which, although reminiscent of polyptychs and tabernacles, incorporate within them simulacra, relics and memorabilia of Idoia, a specific woman who within the context of my work epitomises but at the same time transcends womanhood. With its sanctuaried design, this kind of three-dimensional, body-themed artefact not only enables me to mediate between myself and the other via a self-reflexive process of both mirroring and distancing at one and the same time, but also functions as a means whereby I address concepts of sacrality and femininity. The box-assemblage is essentially an intimate receptacle for Idoia’s body which, once fetishistically broken down through representation, is encased and enshrined inside it with her actual body fragments. By metonymically transferring her body-in-pieces into the structure, I endow it with a sacral status. As part of an ongoing process through which my relationship with Idoia, my regular model for the past fifteen years, is continuously metamorphosed, re-shaped, and re-visioned, and also through ‘relicing,’ this artefact becomes my means of equating this woman with the transcendental. Drawing on Luce Irigaray, and mindful of the effectiveness of the box-assemblage in bringing together the dismembered female body and the divine, I suggest that woman and God may share the realm of the other. As for the participant-spectators of the box-assemblage, they may establish their own relationship with Idoia, based on visual and tactile contact with her boxed and apotheosised body. Toward this aim, its structure is designed in such a manner that exploring it and its contents is a gradual process through which the gaze is fragmented and re-fractured. Subsequently, the viewers may construe this artefact as their own means of accessing the other.
The current erotic landscape is contradictory: While the West sees greater sexual and erotic freedom than ever, there is also a movement to restrict the behaviour of various sexual minorities.
Expanding and Restricting the Erotic addresses the way in which the erotic has been constrained and freed, both historically and at present. Topics range from the troubling way in which the mainstream media represents the erotic, to the concept of friends with benefits. Other chapters explore female eroticism, from contemporary female hip hop artists to Latin American women seeking to express their eroticism in the midst of sexual repression. Medieval and Early Modern medical conceptions of the female body are explored, as are ancient Greek erotic practices. Finally, the controversial area of teenage girls’ erotic representation is analysed.