Where is the sex in art?

Antonia Marsh, i-D, February 10, 2017

From John Currin to Jeff Koons, Tracy Emin to rising artist Alba Hodsoll, curator and Girls Only founder Antonia Marsh wants to talk about sex.


We are all sex obsessed. It's everywhere, used by everyone to sell any product. Porn use equates to approximately one third of internet traffic. Endless dating apps abound for users with one thing on their mind, as do websites geared towards enabling "safe" sex work. Cam girls, dick pics, sexting… Sex doesn't just sell, it permeates all media and every creative or image-based industry. In a new exhibition at Cob Gallery in Camden, London-born painter Alba Hodsoll presents an alternative vision, an arresting collection of paintings that deftly implicate both the viewer and the artist simultaneously within an array of just-recognisable explicit activity. In her work, physical pleasure and the emotional ramifications of sex are inherently entwined and inextricable, calling into question our casual sexual consumption of one another. Feminist pornographer Erika Lust insists that society's obsession with sex embodies a natural predilection: "We come from sex. Sex is the source of life, it's everything. And still there are so many people out there not wanting to acknowledge that." Lust's assertion illuminates an astonishing discrepancy. While sex pervades every crevice of society and occupies each of our minds as well as our Instagram feeds, it remains enormously underrepresented in contemporary culture. Where is the sex in art?