Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire
On Show 2020
Annie Laing

In my practice, I examine the intimate relationships we form throughout our lives, with a particular emphasis on the discovery of the self through the examination of our private desires. My current body of work, 23.09.17, draws on my own memory and recollection and explores my experience with power dynamics in sex, the normalisation of violence and the rape culture perpetrated by the easy access to hardcore online pornography. What I find most engaging about this topic is not only the intrinsic drive that causes this violence in the first place, but also the acceptance of this violence in the people on whom it’s being enacted, how they can come to enjoy it, and the effect this has on relationships going forward.

Sifting through my memories as source material, I string together important images from my life, both on and offline, as research. This collection is mostly comprised of photographs: staged digital photos of meaningful objects, incidental quick snapshots taken from my phone, and screenshots of comments, ads, and stills from porn sites. Though initially this body of research focused solely on my experience of growing up with the normalisation of porn, it evolved into a jumbled assortment of my thoughts on desire, romance, and partnership.

I attempt to manifest these ideas cohesively in a dreamlike, abstract manner through watercolour; representational on paper and indeterminate on acetate. Surreal and periodic, the dreamscapes bring the viewer through a loose narrative of a modern-day Adam and Eve, drawing inspiration from the gender roles of the early 20th century and contrasting them with those of the early 21st.
I hope to evoke intrigue through these pieces, drawing on themes of desire and pleasure versus mindlessness and detachment, and hope to give the viewer a chance to quietly contemplate how we experience intimacy and how we perform our sexualities in the 21st century.