September 19 - November 16, 2002
galerie jerome de noirmont

exhibition release

"There really can´t be anymore anonymous sex"
Keith Haring

Three years after organizing the exhibitions Keith Haring - Made in France at the Musée Maillol and Keith Haring - 12 sculptures at the gallery, Jérôme de Noirmont was pleased to present a Keith Haring exhibition entitled Sex Show, from September 19 to November 16, that through a dozen canvases and some forty drawings, highlighting the crucial importance of sex and sexuality in the artist´s life and work.

Throughout his life, from when he began in the late seventies up to his death in 1990, Keith Haring produced work that was both intense and explicit around sex and sexuality.

In 1978, at the height of the sexual revolution, Keith Haring arrived in New the York. Frequenting the backrooms and public baths where gay community hung out, the sex that haunted his nights soon became the fruit and the main inspiration of his research. Throughout his entire career, the way he portrays the male genitals reveals both unceasing, voracious and submerging desire, and is an allegory for nirvana. Sex also appears in full realism as a guarantee of the durability of human relations and as the symbol of reconciliation, union and harmony between different entities.

Unlike many homosexual artists who have long sought to maintain the clandestine, invisible character of their sexuality, in his own artistic expression Keith Haring found the means of affirming his pride in being gay through the very explicit homo-erotic character of his works. Keith Haring´s determination to fully incorporate his homosexuality as one of the indissociable facets of his art - in spite of the homophobia and oppression that many of his predecessors had suffered throughout history - was the component triggering a huge movement in which artists no longer held back from positively expressing their homosexuality in their art.

Painfully, Keith Haring, attacked by the AIDS virus, had in his own life to accept that sex and love could be associated with the idea of illness and death. His works are denoted by a defiance, a warning, a certain violence sometimes that disturbs the onlooker and bears witness to the dichotomy the artist was in as regards his work.Yet far from giving his artistic expression a fatalistic character, up to his death in 1990 Keith Haring redoubled his efforts to bear witness to the value and richness of life, love and sex. Keith Haring devoted himself ever more actively, in his art, to AIDS prevention, as in his painting Safe Sex, to the need for information, fighting against silence and ignorance, and increasing performances throughout the world.

In his imagination, establishing himself between popular art that had already highlighted soft and other pornography, and the more explicit nature of some graffiti, Keith Haring combined with the phallic representation all of the system of symbols that could be in its sphere. But in these works he also painted a universe of perpetual dissatisfaction, unquenchable torment and carnal yearnings going well beyond the simple representation of the sexual act. Keith Haring thus plunges us into the rediscovery of self and, paradoxically, into images sometimes threatening, in the rediscovery of sincere and pure truths.

From these works emerges in reality the frenzy of a submerged desire for discussion and the quest for a passionate relationship marked by a frenetic turbulence of mind and body. But above and beyond that representation, the feeling of an infinite distress makes us treat the works as a real call holding the onlooker in concert with the love of life, as in Untitled 4-Apr-1984 where sex spurts out life.

Keith Haring´s work proffers both threats, calls for order, cries from the heart and calls for deliverance. Life and death, Eros and Thanatos, insouciance and warning are intermingled to bring forth all the complexity of human relations where relations of force, seduction, attraction, desire, degradation, self-destruction and self development run cheek by jowl. It is an unremitting fight for life and against all the threats that may harm and alter. A fight against illness and for the freedom of minds and bodies. A true Hymn to Life. And to Love.