Herm of Galatea
Plaster, pubic hair, rope, pulley, beam clamp, steel
168 x 31 x 36 cm
Herm of Galatea takes inspiration from Ovid's Pygmalion story, sexual psychology and modern pornography, using the form of apotropaic Greek Hermai to personify the statue-cum-lover of Pygmalion.
Greek Hermai were originally placed on the roadside intended purely as good luck statues for travellers, but viewed in a contemporary context they can seem like an erotic objectification of the body.
In this piece, the inverted phallus relates to both Freudian and conflicting feminist theory about the female lack of the penis and Oedipal complex, and gives the herm functionality as a sex-doll. Cast from the Artists own genitals, the statue becomes solely operative to him, creating a monogamous fidelity pertaining to Pygmalions original integrity. Suspended to aid utility as a sex object, the floating statue looses its monumentality, becoming vulnerable through instability. The suspension was also inspired by erotic illustrations by the Marquis de Sade, the revolutionary libertine after whom the word 'sadism' was coined.
The bust is modelled on both the Venus de Milo and Aphrodite of Knidos, which have both been recorded as physical targets in cases of Agalmatophilia, the paraphilia concerned with the sexual attraction towards a statue.