Saturday, 22 January 2011

Completely Naked - Flashing Bodies Project

A trio consisting of artists Pau Ros and Pablo Goikoetxea plus project coordinator Pablo Goikoetxea, Completely Naked combine slick digital media and good old-fashioned let's-go-crazy happenings in an ongoing project which they've dubbed Flashing Bodies. There have been five 'actions' as they call them so far, each taking a different theme such as Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights or scenes from favourite cult movies. The work exists on three levels – first the happenings themselves (which look as if they are extraordinary, riotous, joyous occasions,) then short videos, and finally photographs, published in books and online galleries.

You'll find the videos on Vimeo, and they're well worth exploring, each being a beautifully crafted and smartly edited little gem of film-making. Uncharacteristically for art videos, there's nothing portentous about them; instead, they share a common thread of high spirits and – dare I say it – fun. The unique brilliance of this team is to give the impression that nudity is a form of dressing up, a game of charades played without clothes but with the help of the occasional wig or bird-mask.

Action Four, The Garden of Earthly Delights

Action Two, For Sale

The same spirit informs their still photography, which has all the elegant framing of something created painstakingly in the studio, but which yet resonates with any number of caught moments. The good-natured tenderness of their work means that they can skirt close to the sort of sexual frankness you might associate with pornography while retaining a feeling almost of innocence. There's also an attractive even-handedness, the camera responding with equal warmth to male and female, old and young.

Turning to the two examples shown here, the group shot from Action Four, The Garden of Earthly Delights benefits enormously from the models' response to what was clearly a deeply immersive experience. For the most part, their bodies show a wonderful relaxation. There's a dreamy, foamy slackness to the soft breasts and stomach of the female nude in the foreground and to the sprawling male figure behind with his thick midriff and lax genitals. In the second photograph – from Action Two, titled “For Sale” and offering a subversion of standard images of seduction - the two nudes are grouped intimately together. The detail of the male model's penis resting against the female model's thigh is something other artists might have shied away from, but in this context it seems like a natural gesture of affection and mutual confidence.

If you're interested in becoming a fan or a model, Completely Naked can be found on Facebook and on their own website. Also well worth checking out is their beautifully laid out online bookshop.

Photographs by kind permission of Pau Ros.

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