Monday, May 26, 2008

don't take Bill Henson out of context

There's been a whole silly debate going on about Bill Henson's photography of adolescent naked children being child pornography. linking to one of these photos could be breaking the law, possibly, possibly not. (don't worry the link is safe to look at)

Most people haven't probably even seen his work and those complaining wouldn't of either, but that's normal from the conservative side of life. Alas PM Rudd has lost me on this one, he missed the point....

As I had seen some of his works, I cast my mind back to the last exhibition I saw at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. This was an amazing exhibition, Bill Henson's work is dark, beautiful and serene and the gallery was dimly lit. Expertly curated, in a manner which set the tone for the exhibition, the atmosphere was more like a church than an adult shop, but let's leave that one alone for now.

I'd like to point out we don't ban a religious text because a crazy fundamentalist takes a few paragraphs out of context, and then uses it to incite hatred or violence.

Taking one of these nude photos out of context, presents exactly the same issue.

My memories of seeing those images included questioning whether or not it was child porn, but in the context, it wasn't anything like that. The fact I was challenged to ask that question, validates it as art, it made me think and form my own opinion.

As the general population is not allowed to see child pornography, it's a catch-22 because we just don't know and thus we can only engage our imaginations to guess what it may entail, not that you'd want to.

Here we have a thought provoking artist being attacked for being thought provoking. At least the tone is changing in Australia, Rudd is conservative, but the big difference is that people are feeling more free to speak out and discuss than they did in the Howard years.


Anonymous said...

This is odd: People are so quick to judge something indecent and ban it from public viewing, taking away my right to view it for myself.

This is also odd: The same people who judged Bill Henson a criminal, are also the same people who support invading another country and expecting the invaded country to
welcome the same invaders as liberators............

Anonymous said...

talk of taking away the right to view the "art" what about the right of the child not to have their privacy taken by consent of the parent who is probably recieving compensation of some sort for their trouble (actually the childs) whether viewed as child pornography or not this is still exploitation of a minor who does not have the choice to drive,drink or participate in the very object in the mind of the people viewing the "art" they are being used for. Anyone who protects the right to use children in this way brings themselves into question. We should be protecting the person involved who is not there by choice or the ability to decide to be there but simply by the force and desires of others. Whoever wrote the first comment should be ashamed to even think of themselves first in this situation.