Anna Mária Beňová is a prolific artist who has already had several exhibitions in professional galleries such as White and Weiss, Photoport or Dot Contemporary Art Gallery shortly after completing her studies at VŠVU in Bratislava. Her work was also presented in Glossolalia 3/2021. During her studies, she created continuously and consistently. The domain of the author is figurative painting and the topic is (primarily) sexual relations between heterosexual cis women and men, which are viewed through the lens of ironized pornographic display conventions. An expressive element that Anna Mária Beňová emphasizes in her optics is the perspective of pleasure and control of the sexual situation of cis hetero by a woman or women, those, as we know, through the privileged spectator's point of view from the fictitious subject position of a cis heterosexual (white) man.

In her paintings, the author works with pornographic material on several levels; sometimes it directly depicts sexual organs or a nude, other times the porn genre is more reminiscent of constellations and poses of half-clothed actors in a mise-en-scène. The irony, convulsion or light absurdity of the situations here is the element that takes the depicted one step further - from porn to art. (This is the rhetorical tool; painting, as a medium, is the second component of this movement and process.). An observation that is no less offered to the audience is, for example, whether, in the process of emancipating voyeuristic pleasure from the female* spectator position, the author ultimately prefers the conventionalized depiction of the eroticized female body and does not leave male bodies somewhat aside (with the exception of the clearly depicted erect penises).

This result may result from the nature of the material from which Anna Mária draws - conventional heteronormative porn mostly omits athleticism and the graceful or, on the contrary, bulky structure of male bodies, in contrast to gay pornography. Pornography, as a source material, is a terrain that is a clash of many conflicts. Conventional porn offended feminists of some currents, because they saw in it the degeneration of women. In turn, he offends conservative circles for his alleged sinfulness.

Often these circles censored exhibitions of real, high art under the pretense that it was only pornography because it showed exposed genitalia. Progressive circles, on the other hand, dislike porn as the only - and unrealistic and simplistic - source of information about sex in situations where schools desperately lack qualified sex education. In short, porn is often in the role of a slapstick that diverts attention from much more important problems in society. Nowadays, no less, there is a part of porn production that is based on the fact that it is produced from feminist principles - ethical; everyone on the set agrees to everything, they are informed, if something is uncomfortable for them, they don't have to continue. In the same way that the conditions in porn production have changed, artists have also reacted to this genre of commercial film production, revealing and turning its conventions upside down, and this is what Anna Mária Beňová's work is all about.

Curator of the exhibition :
Mgr. et MgA. Barbora Lungová