red hat (xevi), 2003
i really like the art work of slava mougtin. self-proclaimed “exiled dissident, porno activist, homo terrorist, pinko commie fag,” his exploits saw him become the target of three high publicity criminal cases which ultimately resulted in his forced move to america.
his highly sexualised installation and photographic works are a paradox. at once they are challenging to the feminised concept of the gay man present in the social psyche, yet subtle features, expressions, clothing and props continually reinvent and reinvigorate the fem nature of gay boys. his installation and photographic work effortlessly obliterates sex/gender stereotypes, to present new, masculinised and hyper-masculinised portrayals of mid-20s gay men.
from pref no 9, 2006
he’s obsession with queer ‘straight guys’ as sex objects is paramount to his masculine homosexual idea. his object of desire is wiggas, “generally used to describe a young, middle or upper-class mimicker of certain affectations of hip hop culture.” red hat (xevi), 2003 is one example. his boys are quintessential of this fashion and lifestyle, often skaters, always lean and regularly well built and muscular. and because they are probably the ‘wrong end of town’ they are imbued with adding hardness and dangerousness, adding to their heightened masculinity). which is exactly how mogutin wants them.
the jock strap—both a practical item used by sportsmen, a symbol of masculinity and a gay fetish item—is an important feature as well. the photograph from pref magazine for example features the model buff and with body hair in a jock strap. but he is wearing jock straps, adorning himself in them, and smelling them. they are fetish objects.
another aspect of his work that focused on power is his depiction of men in uniform, violence and sexual powerplay. he fetishises power in a way rarely equated with gay men. flipping through lost boys, a book cataloguing much of his photo work, there are hundreds of images of men in military uniforms, coupled with images such as anton_helmet. a link is established between authority and gay eroticism.
even his most feminised subjects—like phiiliip (see phiiliip & grant, 2003)—are powerful. despite his waif build and his eye make up he is still violent, predatory. his stare is cold and unforgiving, even as he is ‘caught’ (by the viewer) strangling his boyfriend. as patrik, author of cobain in a coma says:
The models glare into the lens like you’re staring at them in gym class and they’re about to kick your ass but they’re so hot you can’t take your eyes away.
phiiliip & grant, 2003
what draws me to his work is his complete disregard for the conventions of sex, sexuality and gender. he diverges from any socially accepted understanding of these and consistantly creates new ideas, merging a hyper-masculine gay male identity with aspects of feminine gay norms.
i am particularly impressed with his ability to easily push his ideas into the mainstream. his work has been published in magazines such as vogue, artforum, ArtUS, the new york times, visionaire, the village voice and i-D.
possibly most important to the success of his new sex/gender identities is the fact that he is living testament to his own ideology. in february last year he did a shoot for playgirl in which he was dressed in wigga wear and allowed himself to be sexualised in the way that he places before his masculine homo gaze in his works.
see slava mogutin’s blog
x-posted: pop-cult ejaculate + elliott’s artwank blog