A#23

Paloma Blanco Casanova’s “Pornos Tapados”

Text by Chiara Bardelli Nonino

Paloma Blanco Casanova by Eva Beresin, (2022)

A showcase of paintings by Paloma Blanco Casanova and text by Chiara Bardelli Nonino featured in A Magazine No.23 Curated By Francesco Risso.

 

I can pinpoint with some precision the first time I watched porn —- if we ignore those flickering boobs on local TV channels late at night, of course. It was my 12th birthday, and I had invited an all-girl group of friends to spend the afternoon at my parents’ home. The highlight of the day was that one of them had smuggled two VHS tapes from her uncle’s porn collection, and we had a short unsupervised timeframe to watch them. To be frank, we’re talking of L’Histoire d’O and La Bête — two classical specimens of the trickiest kind of porn, the soft kind. They featured a glimpse of genitalia and people having sex, so for the pre-internet generation, that was more than enough. We watched them for something like 15 minutes, giggling and marvelling with repulsion at what an erect penis looked like, and then we moved on to more interesting stuff: boys, make-up and school gossip. The girl who brought the tapes asked me to hide them and give them back to her later that week, because her mom was picking her up and carrying them around in her backpack was way too risky. And of course, my mom found them, poorly ensconced in a dusty corner of my room and flipped out. She was — and still is — an Italian mom, after all. I remember that it was such an innocent thing, a silly transgression — until it wasn’t, turning into something shameful and dark.

Paloma Blanco Casanova, (2022)

In the last 50 years or so, we have lived through a whole whirlwind of attitudes towards porn, sometimes linking it to freedom and empowerment, sometimes to violence and immorality. As grandmas and grandpas may remember in that remote and awkward era — the pre-internet one — porn wasn’t just a click away, and you had to be an adult or have a ‘weird uncle’ at hand to access it. Porn is still polarising though, even if for different reasons. Digital natives don’t have to sweat so much for it; porn is readily available and mainstream too, so the whiff of adventure is gone. But an adolescent today knows — or is supposed to know — what working in the porn industry can entail: power imbalances, exploitation, misogyny and so on. They know that watching porn is both a smaller deal and a far bigger one as well.

Paloma Blanco Casanova, (2022)

Years ago at an indie photobook fair, a friend gifted me Paloma Blanco’s zine Porno Tapados. I vividly remember my reaction of pure amusement, like my giggly 13-year-old self. The zine is a collection of people enjoying, really enjoying, mundane stuff. Blanco painted everyday situations on old porn stills, maintaining a decontextualised (hence hilarious) close-eyed orgasmic face. Really, who would have thought that carving a ham, washing the dishes or playing twister could be so thoroughly enjoyable?

READ MORE…

Cover of Article "Shaniqwa Jarvis ‘Sleep to Dream’"

Shaniqwa Jarvis ‘Sleep to Dream’

Treading the line between dream-state and reality, the American photographer and A#21 contributor’s solo exhibition in New York is an ethereal exploration of our earthly existence, contemplating the duality between mother nature and human nature.

Read more

Cover of Article "Francesco Risso’s Angels in America"

Francesco Risso’s Angels in America

The A#23 curator stormed Brooklyn this season, staging the Marni Spring Summer 2023 show under the Manhattan Bridge. His embrace of unconventionality and childlike curiosity tapped into the storied bohemian past of New York, a very Marni vision of hippie modernism, and the paintings of A#23 contributor Flaminia Veronesi.

Read more

See all Articles

A News in your inbox