Visiting the Wellcome Collection – Sexology and all that jazz

It’s good to be back in London! I love to travel but Vienna is a rather conservative place, after a while it begins to feel oppressive. The ‘tuts’ of Austrian matrons are not difficult to provoke, it’s as easy as applying lipstick in the morning or wearing something more daring than a beige twinset.

Arriving home to London’s gritty chaos I’ve been catching up with friends and indulging in the simple day to day pleasures this city has to offer. Last week I headed off to the Wellcome Collection to check out ‘The Institute of Sexology’ exhibition. Naturally enough one of Vienna’s most famous figures Dr Freud was featured.

What I didn’t expect when entering the exhibition was to the overwhelming sense of how violent the control of sexual expression has been. Odd really as how repressed sexuality has been (and still often is) as this is so screamingly obvious. It might be something to do with not being able to see the wood for the trees (no pun intended), the luxury I have in spending a lot of time freeing other people from their repressed states and having fun exploring.

Many cases of Victorian horror objects, Nazi book burnings and documentation of early sexological research later, the rest of the exhibition deals with more hopeful topics. Particularly wonderful are the large format photographs of people posing at home, with their DIY fucking machines. These images are a sweet reminder of how people do persist in finding ways to enjoy sex!

My favourite piece in the show is a video work by the Artist Neil Bartlett which presents a parody of Section 28 – the artist denies being gay and then his ‘students’ tell mock revelatory stories of how because of Neil’s influence they have all become lesbians. A Hilarious satirical handling of the issue.

The show ends on an up note with Trans vengers a project that showcases young peoples visions of gender identity smashing through any notion of ‘man/woman’, sure to bring a smile to even the most serious faces….. and my there were a LOT of serious faces as people walked around the collection. Phew!

Going to go and buy a new inflatable gag and a cock cage now, funny how the remnants of repression become refashioned into fetish items isn’t it.


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