Orgy pillows body parts in mixed skin colors

Fawn Rogers’ Orgy Pillows are on one level as innocent and charming in their promised pleasures as abstract stuffed animals can be. Yet in her title and the twisting nature of her constructed forms a wealth of narratives of love, lust, savagery, and loneliness appear. Art historically there are few subjects more subtle yet erotically overloaded than bedding, In all depictions in two to three dimensions the lumps and ripples of covers and pillows reminds us that in most honest biographies the experience of divine connection, our most ruthless heartbreaks, and life altering pleasure take place while ones body is supine on a cushioned surface and resting on or wrapped around pillows of various types, which all refer back directly to the bodies they are intended to comfort and cushion.

Yet these pillows are bound together with Frankenstein stitches, reminiscent of rough battle field surgical sutures. In their palette of human flesh tones these indescribable shapes feel like either former lovers that have been hacked down to their usable parts or perhaps human building blocks, fleshy clay to lump together into the shape of an ideal lover.

The representations of skin color conjure the menu of received flesh tones and conjure the uncomfortable history of racialized eroticism and the fetishization of flesh tones. Even expressing a desire to either secure or avoid a lover of a certain skin tone and other racial features is now so problematized as to be undiscussable. Yet as the great feminist painter Marilyn Minter states in multiple interviews no one has politically correct erotic fantasies. Roger’s Orgy Pillows are a step in surfacing this uncomfortable by necessary discussion.

In actual group sex scenes we do not experience our orgy playmates as full human beings with intellectual and spiritual lives, with back-stories and unique romantic histories. Ideally they are intellectually respected, and their choices and desires are expressed and fulfilled. Yet in the swirling heat of multiple aroused bodies, arms, legs, chests, and genitals are as chaotically mixed and ill defined as these pillows. Who a lump of flesh is attached to is unimportant. All that matters is the nearest moist nerve endings and psychological arousal matrix. That is both the joy and the sorrow of the activity.

In recent years designers and manufacturers open to the way we actually use our bedrooms have created two new inventions designed to help stave off loneliness and multiply pleasure, one is the roughly body sized pillows we can cuddle up with in lieu of a human or canine companion. The second are wedge shaped padded forms, designed as props during sexual play to render angles of approach and sexual positions easier to maintain during longer play sessions and to achieve more memorable and transcendent pleasures. In an array of fleshy tones Rogers sculptures conjure a utopian sexual landscape in which all bodies are equally available as lovers or recent victims. These objects themselves abandoned in an art space conjure a battleground while speak of desires for fleshy connections doomed to remain unfulfilled. Even that just might be contradicted and the primacy of bodily pleasures reestablished if willing gallery visitors take time out of their days with friends to cuddle and thereby reanimate these body surrogates.

by Bill Arning