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New Exhibition Explores The Iconic Homoerotic Image Of The Sailor

Franco Nero and Brad Davis in Querelle, 1982

Catalan City will host a new exhibition at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona that will highlight the implicit homoeroticism of men who live their lives at sea. Opening on 11 November 2021, the exhibition is called El Desig És Tan Fluid Com La Mar (or Desire Flows Like the Sea in English) and evokes imagery of sailors and their historic ties to homoerotic art, reports The Guardian.

Desire Flows Like The Sea is a tribute to men who have hidden their homosexuality out of fear of persecution. It is tacitly understood that spaces occupied by sailors have always had ties to homosexual subculture.

The exhibition shines light on relationships of all kinds, albeit some exploitative and others consensual. According to The Guardian, there is limited documentation on the subject considering homosexuality was, and still is, a capital offence in some places.

(Tom Of Finland Foundation)
(Tom Of Finland Foundation)

Another element of the exhibition explores the construction of the hyper-masculine sailor as a tenet of iconic gay imagery. The exhibition will showcase the works of artist Touko Valio Laaksonen, better known as Tom Of Finland who created artwork that aestheticised gay imagery and taunted traditional authority structures in his artwork, reports The Guardian.

Samuele Riva by Jean Baptiste Mondino for Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male

Alongside Tom of Finland, the exhibition will be showing the kitsch masculinity of French artists Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard who are renowned for their tableaux of famous individuals of stage and screen. Jean Paul Gaultier’s utilisation of the homoerotic sailor in iconic ad campaigns find a place alongside references to the work of the French novelist and playwright Jean Genet, whose Querelle Of Brest was made into a film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1982.

Querelle by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (via filmaffinity)

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