COLOGNE, GERMANY.- One often hears that art should know no taboos: that its task is to go beyond the borders of the doable, the permissible and good taste. But can it do this even when dealing with such a delicate and tasteless topic as pornography, the commercial filming of sex without love?
However, pornography does not always have to be commercial trash, as is proven by the English-American film production "Destricted" -first screened at the film festival in Cannes but never before shown in German cinemas -, which the Cologne KunstFilmBiennale is presenting as a curtain-raiser to this year's edition of the festival.
International stars of the art world, such as Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Sam Taylor-Wood and the photographer and film director Larry Clark ("Kids") were asked to show their version of pornography in short movies.
Sometimes crudely, sometimes humorously, but always without censoring or black bars, they present extravagant short films about lonely masturbation in Death Valley in California, the fulfilment of sexual dreams or the reconstruction of phallic fertility folklore in the Balkans. Whether sex with machines, with paid porn stars or with oneself - "Destricted" proves that even pornography need not be taboo for art.
The film by Larry Clark, who specializes in America's teens and twens, outdoes the others in both explicitness and length: in casting interviews, young men talk about their most secret sexual desires - and are then allowed to fulfill them in front of a running camera: a perhaps shocking, but at any rate profoundly disturbing, portrait of American youth and its pornographic obsessions.