...and it's constantly smoking.
Lots of smoke around sex
75cm x 200cm, oil on canvas
Masculinity doesn't only express itself through individual attributes. It is also expressed through actions or deeds which often have a ritualistic element to them. Smoking is one such action, particularly the intensive enjoyment of a cigar. As a result of my own personal memories, I always associate cigars with old men with fat stomachs who regularly obscured my grandmother's room with clouds of smoke. Today, however, the cigar stands for pure masculinity - for younger as well as older men.
As the pressure on the smoker to protect the non-smoker constantly grows stronger, smokers are forced towards the margins of society, to withdraw themselves into their own created space - the so-called "humidors".
My cigar is different. It does not pull back. It is painted standing erect and is enveloped by a mysterious darkness. The scene is illuminated in modern colours, an allusion to the spirit of the times and the awareness that the need to indulge ourselves is often stronger than our fear of damaging our health. Many indigenous races have a ritual in which the young men are escorted by their grandfathers to be accepted into the society of men. In previous times we of course had similar rituals but they exist no longer. Consequently young men remain significantly longer in the world of their childhood and are forced to find their way to adult life alone. Sometimes this process can last a very long time.
This period of time can even be so long that an old man results straight from a boy. Not all men wish to wait for adulthood, however, and such have long since undertaken their own journey. As a symbol for maturity I have painted a band in the form of a penis ring. In real life this ring has the function of enhancing the flow of blood to the penis and thereby prolonging an erection. With a bit of a wink, I have painted the smoke issuing from the points on the ring and not from the glowing end of the cigar as one might expect. Thus is my humorous offering: that not only young men have fun with sex but older men too. Men who are perhaps even more sexually active than the successful and yet extremely busy buddies.