INVITED DESIGN EDITOR Kristina Krasnyanskaya
What is sexuality? What is this category, and what we put into it, giving this epithet of a person, someone’s manner, act of art, fashion, and sometimes just objects that surround us... The word «sexy» in the English language has long ago acquired a much broader meaning than the de nition of sexual attraction, it absorbs a whole range of shades, but always with a positive meaning, clearly giving the described object the desire, relevance and high appreciation. Often we invest much more in it than something related to sex directly... It is both appeal, originality and sharpness of the image, sometimes it is just a tactile or visual sensation. We women, in our majority between the de nition of «beautiful» or «sexy» usually prefer the latter, because there is much more energy in this word. Sexuality means rst of all attraction ... and no matter how much it coincides with the canons, the main thing is that this magnetic property does not leave indi erent, causing attention, causing a desire to possess... During the twentieth century in the world community, in fashion, in art, there were several stages of «liberation» of sexuality, its discovery and recognition up to the in ating of the topic and speculation on it. Today, the theme of sexuality is going through a new stage, a stage where gender becomes practically unimportant, the very feeling is important... And this feeling of sexuality in the worlds of fashion and design, as well as in society, is changing rapidly.
In the mid-twentieth century, one of the rst to use the term «sexual revolution» was an Austrian and American psychologist, one of the founders of the American school of psychoanalysis, a student of Freud Wilhelm Reich. Watching his patients, Reich concluded that the lack of people’s ability to have fun became the main starting point for dissatisfaction with life in general. At the same time, the question of a new impending «catastrophe» on American society called the «sexual revolution» was raised in the USSR. The post-war euphoria and the mood for peaceful life, the invention of antibiotics to avoid undesirable consequences in the form of STDs, led to the growth of sexual relations and the emergence of such a phenomenon as «baby boom». The 1970s were a new phase in the discovery of sexuality. It’s time for the hippies to... «Children of owers» glori ed free relations, the institution of the family and the values associated with it became a «relic of the past», free love became a form of hedonism, which sang pleasure in all forms, and sexuality was one of the main ways of expression. Design, like art, was and is a re ection of its time and the attitudes of society, reacting acutely to the moods and changes that are taking place in this society.
Thus, in the mid-twentieth century, bold design objects appeared - sculptures in the form of naked women with outstretched legs, one of the founders of the «sexual revolution in design». the masters of sexual provocation, Philip Ikeley. Originally an incredibly talented sculptor, Ikili quickly gained fame, his works were included in the collections of the world’s leading museums. By thoroughly creating furniture and interiors, Ikili did not change himself, lling his works with eroticism and the fundamentality of form. His safes and mirrors in the form of women with naked breasts, co ee tables, where naked female gures in open poses serve as a stand, oor lamps in the form of slender, beautiful female silhouettes create a real provocation, frankly speaking to the viewer about sex, about the open desire to have sex here and now, lling everything around in the air with eroticism and balancing at the junction between design and sculpture.
Today, on the international stage, leading artists and designers continue in their works to experiment in one way or another with the theme of sex and sexuality itself in a broader sense. Despite the fact that this topic has ceased to be taboo and this is particularly acute. The word sexy itself has often become a de nition that conveys appeal, tactile and visual, and transforms the subject into an object of desire in general. Design remains open to sex, ready to be provocative, to shake down, to surprise and shock an unprepared spectator at exhibitions. Artists themselves do not miss the opportunity to express their attitude to the topic, speaking through objects with the public about sex, sexuality, including expressing their own emotions on the topic, talking about satisfaction or on the contrary - frustrations in this area. Today, masters such as Philippe Stark, Fabio Novembre, Karim Rashid, Chaim Ion and the Los Angeles duo of young but established designers Nicky and Simon Haas are all irting with the public, both by creating deliberately provocative objects depicting parts of the naked human body, and playing with soft textures, charging bright colors, making the object desirable, which means «sexy». Now in the design industry of the Russian market nally clearly formed and sounded design theme.
There appeared designers participating in international projects, whose works correspond to the most demanding eye of an experienced western viewer. Galleries engaged in collector’s design appeared, collectors who are ready to purchase design and actively participate in auctions of design of auction houses Phillips, Sotheby’s and Christie’s have grown. And as evidence of the development of this industry, domestic manufacturers began to appear, ready to technologically implement bold design ideas, which is a separate serious theme. And what happens to the topic of sex in our country? In our Russian design? It is no secret that during the Soviet period, the theme of sex was not discussed, as «there was no sex» almost 70 years ...). Then the wave of the 90s, demolished like a tsunami all the «inviolable» for more than half a century bans and fundamental attitudes, gave the era of «glasnost» ... Sex has become very much, everywhere, even in abundance ... there were lms that glori ed the freedom of sex, telling about the fate of women for whom sex has become a second profession, boldly and not very carefully revealing something that was as if not customary to talk about. The lms «Intergirl», «Little Faith» - sexual freedom and emancipation, nudity in the literal sense on the screen and exposing the external pseudo-well-being and stability of Soviet society - became the agship of the new free society. They talked about speed, drugs and safe sex... In general, in fact, a real «sexual revolution» with a certain pull. Except the design was sad. Due to the decline in the economy and the collapse of entire industries, furniture manufacturing, and even more so its creative part, and the industry as a whole, was in serious crisis. Designers were clearly not ready to have sex...