Peter Super-T-Art – a solo show by Peter Brandt, Nikolaj – Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen 30/3 – 28/5 – 2007. A catalogue was published in conjunction with the exhibition with essays by Laura Cottingham, Joanna Frueh and Peter Brandt.
The Penis Knocked Out
By Peter Brandt
Male dominance permeates western culture – and as men, we are both trained and forced to act out the drama of masculinity. Be a man, or more accurately: be a real man, is echoed throughout culture like a constant reminder of how we shall behave socially, physically and emotionally. Masculinity is something we learn, something we acquire and something we achieve. It’s a demanding process, often involving painful and humiliating ordeals.
Men are trained early on to look upon their own penis as phallus – a solid monstercock that have the rights to penetrate every corner of society. The phallic cock as king represents power and triumph – a representation also seen in pornography, where the big hard dick is seen in its full potential as an object to identify with – to be envied – or desired.
The symbolic phallus is represented abundantly in the western culture, as opposed to the non-erect penis which is virtually absent – and when finally seen it’s evoked with anxiety and laughter. The penis is being eliminated in history. The penis is being knocked out – since these representations point to other, more complex aspects of being a man.
The idealisation of masculinity is the foundation of society, a culture that applauds war heroes and powerful political figures. This form of idealised masculinity gives “permission” to all kinds of violent behaviour – from sexism to war. The roles of men are culturally constructed; men are acting, performing masculinity and masquerading as men in the desire of acknowledgement and power.
In Peter Super-T-Art, I work with the legacy of the American artist Hannah Wilke (1940-93) – a feminist showstopper of international stature. She represented herself as both object and subject, being a star and a scar at the same time. I scrutinised her works, selected certain pieces from her oeuvre, surveyed her gestures, reinvented them and moulded them into new territory – my aim being to subvert the phallic law from a man’s point of view. (Peter Brandt, The Penis Knocked Out, Peter Super-T-Art, page 7, 2007).