And so it continues, Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari’s lucid and intensely personal examination of the world around us, of the society we live in and of the manias and fashions of contemporary life.
After BODY BUILDING, last year’s glossy and ironic episode in which the creative couple revisited the world of the gym, underlining the excessive pursuit of the perfect body and the stereotypical idea of beauty, NO SEX can be considered the second volume of the same chronicles. This project looks at the facts and tendencies of the world around us. Once again it involves the body but this time Biagetti and Baldassari go even deeper, into the psyche, to concentrate on the perception and the accessibility of sex in the world today, bombarded as it is by ever more excessive and explicit images made available to anyone at any time thanks to the internet. Sex has always been the taboo subject par excellence but, over the last couple of decades, it has been generally accepted by society (although never quite completely) and, thanks to the advanced communication technology that we so take for granted today and which has really superseded printed media in this sector, ways of “consuming” it have changed radically making it accessible to the masses and in many different forms. The sex portrayed here is ascetic yet intriguing; it is seductive, encouraged, even commercialized, and is made attainable in a futuristic, imaginary environment – more or less real – who’s to say just how real. The two designers have looked to the habits, practices, uses, methods, fetishes and passions, but also to the addictions and contradictions, the conflicts and personal inclinations that sex generates in the world today. NO SEX goes beyond the analysis of appearance and of aesthetic beauty to create a sort of secular Eden, a refuge or even a sci-fi pleasure-house where it is possible to achieve both psychological and physical completeness on demand.
NO SEX is intentionally ambiguous and, although it is the personal expression of a precise point of view, is open to interpretation. It examines the precariousness of human relationships in a frenetic contemporary lifestyle; it addresses the subject of certain inclinations and other compulsive cravings as well as primal desires and of needs induced by the bombardment of hot images in the media. As well as the specific subject matter that is treated in NO SEX, another key point is Biagetti and Baldassari’s singular approach to their work. Just as in 2015, this project (that takes the form of a collection of different products) is the result of a creative outlook, of the desire to tell a story by transforming the conditions of the things that surround us, turning them into a multi-faceted narrative made up of objects. This characteristic artistic direction can therefore be considered almost a collection of short-stories that illustrate a personal analysis of this period in history offering us an individual, perhaps even futuristic, interpretation of it. Just like at the cinema when we are engrossed by the onscreen action, here we must immerse ourselves in the affairs depicted by the objects, the protagonists of the narrative. If Biagetti and Baldassari had had a video camera, NO SEX might have been a film, or if they were writers it may have been an actual short story but as it is, their chosen language is design and with their collections the duo present 3D storyboards that are also functional in everyday life. For this project Laura and Alberto chose soft, malleable, indefinable, even carnal materials such as natural rubber, latex and the highest quality leather in nude pink. There are almost endless ways of interpreting the story told here: perhaps it describes a world where sex is no longer considered healthy but is instead commercialized and disparaged, in which the pink-clinic of Biagetti and Baldassari is a kind of detox, a way of liberating oneself of one condition and of reaching another in which we can freely and spontaneously express our sexuality. Or perhaps it is a refuge from the constant, invasive bombardment of erotic images that we are subjected to in the world today – a place to feel satisfied, safe, protected and cared for. Or is it a sort of pleasure-house where you can purify yourself from online porn? NO SEX is intentionally enigmatic, elusive, uncertain and equivocal. Captivating yet distant, concise yet enchanting, exempt of moral prejudices, never vulgar, and filled with a good dose of inventiveness and fervid imagination – combined with the impeccable manufacture of the objects themselves – this creative project does not sit in judgement or pass any verdict. It is rather a sort of analysis and although it may be appreciated, accepted, understood or identified with more by some than by others, it remains the personal vision of the two authors whose subjective, courageous and strongly aesthetic expressive language draws on the life they observe in the world around them. Over to you.
Maria Cristina Didero