Imagen

One of the shows that have recently left a mark in London’s artistic consciousness is Shunga at the British Museum. It showcases a number of images where XVII and XVIII century Japanese men and women are depicted having sexual intercourse in many ways and positions. Having said that, I want to refer to their visual aspects and, more specifically, to its composition.

The first thing that surprised me was the way the genitalia was magnified. In other words, the bodies appears to have two ends: the heads that interact even through text (that appears on the top of the image) and the genitalia (that appears penetrating or just teasing).It is this sort of balance between the figures and their ‘ends’  that brings a ‘moral’ equilibrium where there is no domination since there is nothing to be repressed or controlled.

One might feel tempted to see these images as a catalogue of sexual positions but they do not function like that either since anything serious is immediately undone by a humorous comments or a smile on one of the protagonists’ faces.

This equilibrium which happens in terms of gender and mechanics brings an ease to the images that is very difficult to find in western porn where the action always seems to aim at possession and ownership. Just a thought.