HELMUT NEWTON, Hugh Hefner's Projection Room, Beverly Hills, 1986. gelatin silver print
This is a photograph of Christine Richters and Erich von Stroheim in German uniform, taken in Hugh Hefner's screening room at his Hollywood mansion. The photo is set against a projection of the Jean Renoir's classic, 1937 film, La Grande Illusion.
Newton was featured in the Weekend Magazine of The Australian recently. Porno chic has gone mainstream under the guise of discussing Newton's autiobiography. What is once called porn is now a part of the everyday discourse in the mediascape, where sex is used to sell everything.
Another quirky Newton image of a sexual fetish that plays around with virtual reality or the simulcra.
HELMUT NEWTON, Closed T.V. Circuit, Beverly Hills, 1989, gelatin silver print
I mention this since the Newton/Hefner/Australian kind of eroticism is quirky in a reifed way. The gaze is about possession, ownership and control. Women's bodies are there for the pleasure of man.
This is a long way from Bataille's understanding of erotic desire. For Bataille, erotic desire presupposes a partial dissolution of the self-possessive person as they are in their everyday life. Physical eroticism involves the fusion of lover's bodies.
A destructive element is involved in physical eroticism since it always involves the breaking down of established patterns and codes. Hence the dissolute life.
For Bataille, erotic dissolution is link to religious eroticism, which is concerned with the fusion of beings with a world beyond everyday reality.