Project Carmine

The field of my research is sexual identity. It is especially apparent in the army, a closed system with its own inner regulations, that it could not function properly without.  The army, as well as monasteries, prisons, boy schools and other similar institutions are  paradoxal systems: on one hand conservative structures with no individual rights of freedom and maximum strict order. Furthermore, the army is idealized: officially a soldier is a holy man, which is always ready to sacrifice his life for a structure that is questionable, but yet having great traditions – the state. On the other hand, in this exact environment with preserved conservative regulations arise homosexual relations, that are not regular in contemporary society. Of course, they are illegal and intolerable, though rationally, in the context of the army the need of these kind of relationships is even more understandable that in the civil society. The military is a peculiar social formation: young men are forcefully recruited to serve or they come by their own will, the freedom of movenent is inhibited, duty comes over rights, apparent power cult. Circumstances that young men are indrawn into one closed masculine space in which one must unconditionally obey to soldiers of higher rank makes a big impact on the sexuality of the troops. Sexuality that is restricted by the army‘s external rules unfolds unexpectedly in various situations. Namely for the latter reason this environment frequently has restrictions and repressions towards homosexuality and sexuality in general, for example the long term don‘t ask, don‘t tell policy of US army. But despite these limitations, sexuality strongly influences relationships between men of higher (stronger) and lower rank (weaker). Inner relationships in these strict regulations are unavoidably supplemented by sexual content.
For revealing this sexual format in soldiers’ relationships I use the color carmine (it. carmine < arab. qirmiz – cochineal + lot. minium – cinnabar (red pigment)) extracted from a certain species of insects whose males have an ability to transform their gender and be fertilized when it is vital for their survival. It is not only as a natural pigment but also as a certain allegory. Pink (carmine) color code (love, passion, blood) adds ambiguity to the ordinary army situations, expresses commonness through hidden sexuality, foregrounds things that are forbidden, restricted, ashamed of, feared but yet piercing the inner military relations.
I do not confine only with carmine. Carmine is like a pink dream conveying brutal reality. Scenes of indignity are reflected with vivacity. This way, the polychrome  and monochrome pink paintings interact in past – present, virtual – real time dimensions.
Furthermore, I use fragmentary composition, as I select motifs from internet sources, where composition in photos is unprofessional. In this way, works become more authentic, the plot more documentary. The paintings are based on photographs, therefore it is not the real experience of military life that is highlighted, but the circulation of its image and meanings that it creates in contemporary society. The depicted military life reflects a minimized model of the society.
Military and carmine are the two things that inspires the presented painting cycle.

 

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