In the past, a naked athlete was the symbol of civilization, in opposition to Venus, which was its decoration. The male nude, therefore, was the expression of the highest values related to power and pride, while the feminine was the object of desire. I wonder whether this division has contributed to a lesser acceptance of male nudity because its public display was in opposition to patriarchal norms and heteronormative principles.
By showing a naked male body I want to free it from the obligation of carrying meanings and fulfilling social expectations, as well as liberate it from the constraints of the conventional beauty canon.
I am also interested in the influence of Christian tradition on the approach to carnality. In the field of religion, the nude appears in relation to suffering, and the masculine body is used to glorify martyrdom. If the body is not humiliated, it is connected with sex, thus sin. That is why I am interested in how religion continues to influence social approach to the male nude, excluded from the field of culture and art, and recognized as pornography.
I am aware that in the history of art the male nude represented general human condition, as if it was removed from sex – this is why I wonder what is the present condition of the male body.
I feel the need to redefine masculinity and to seek new ways of talking about the male body through images. On one hand, I would like to restore carnality to the male nude. On the other, I deliberately blur the concept of gender, creating ambiguous shapes which transgress the binary division as it is inadequate in the context of contemporary theories of gender, non-binary or androgynous individuals. I focus, therefore, on people who explore their gender identity regardless their biological sex. I choose people regardless the pop culture canons of beauty, which allows me to present the mental condition of a man through their physical body.
The starting point for me is the biological male body and an intimate relation to my own body, because as a cis man I identify with it.
I agree with the statement that in patriarchal culture the naked body is identified with femininity, while the intellect and spirit with masculinity, and as a result most men are deeply alienated from the reality of their own body. Furthermore, it is important for me to look for new patterns and identify and restore values which may influence shaping of self-awareness and communication with the body. To designate the right place and role, which will take into account the paradoxical status of the male nude – as a potential symbol of both power and opposition to it; as a very public domain and an intimate sphere at the same time; official and obscene; as a sign of revolution, freedom and democracy.
I have always been interested in the body and the camera lets me express this fascination.
Creating my own language of expression originated from the inner need of showing my way of seeing a naked body, and was a result of a rebellious reaction to the lack of images showing modern thinking about the male body. The project consists of the series created mainly after 2016, although the early photos leading to the current shape of the project were created before the studies at the University of Arts in 2010. The visual part was developed instinctively and intuitively, often with the help of friends and acquaintances as models, but also with the participation of unknown people, found on social media or dating apps. The book Naked Man by Paweł Leszkowicz (2012) has helped me clarify my thoughts and was also an impulse to write this text.