By Annelise Schübeler
“Whereas Brandt works with identification in his Marilyn project, the Hannah Wilke project Peter Super-T-Art is based on appropriation, whereby a dialogue between Wilke’s and Brandt’s artworks arises by way of the explicit representation of the sex. Whereas the Western world is saturated with phallic symbols, there are no similar symbols of the vulva. With her vulva sculptures in various materials, Wilke tried, from a female subject position, to create a symbol for the female sex. However, in much the same way that the female sex is absent as symbol, the male sex in the shape of a soft penis is absent from Western culture, where men are expected to regard their penis as an omnipotent phallus. Which is why Brandt works on deconstructing the phallus by embracing the flesh and providing the male with a sex in the shape of soft non-erect penis. Brandt’s series Elective Affinities (2006) consists of eight watercolours. The title is a repetition of Wilke’s title for an artwork consisting of small ceramic vulvas (1979). The pink watercolours and the fleshy quality remind us of Wilke’s latex objects, e.g. Agreeable Object (1972). Brandt’s series is a variation on penis-like shapes in pink nuances; stretching from dull red to a delicate, almost white, pink. The contours are blurred and the shape changes from abstract to almost naturalistic, from a soft to an erect penis-like shape. The pink tones connote a femininity that underpins virility’s fragility in both flesh and gender. The penis transformations are both lustful, erotic and aesthetic, and by way of colour, the soft shapes and unstable contours dismantle the phallocentric as well as the pornographic”. (Annelise Schübeler, Peter Brandt’s gendered dialogues, extract the book Post Trauma Documents, page 16 – 17, 2016).
Elective Affinities, 8 watercolor/Arches paper, 61 x 46 cm. 2006