sculpture: Olaf Metzel “Turkish Delight”

10/11 2007 — 30/4 2008

In his bronze sculpture ?Turkish Delights?, which depicts a nude woman with an Islamic veil, the German sculptor Olaf Metzel raises the question of the precarious relationship between Orient and Occident. A female body represented as an artwork becomes a focal point for controversial discourses and immanent contradictions: the work deals with the ?male gaze?, which degenerates the woman to an object while developing varying degrees of penetrating efficacy depending on social context and worldview. Olaf Metzel also seeks to draw attention to the commercial exploitation of the feminine body in Western media-driven mass society. The consciously orchestrated sexualization of the gaze practiced by product marketers has nothing to do with Eros and passion, but rather serves to sexualize merchandise, thus subjugating desire to the profane project of capital accumulation, which merely simulates and thus debases the ?invocation of the Other? (Emmanuel Levinas) through the language of passion.

Displaced into the receptional context of Islamic societies, nudity accentuated by a veil becomes a provocation. There the male gaze is subjected to clear limits by the varying degrees to which the face and/or hair are hidden. The women becomes an unseen object of desire, releasing erotic fantasy in the eye of the beholder through her invisibility as a body carrying connotations of lust.
Here the question returns of whether it is not the concealment of the body that produces the obscenity which the nude body has more or less already lost, because it is hardly perceived as an erotic challenge any longer on account of its omnipresence in Western commercial zones.