Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sandra Doore: Horizontal Desires

by Christine Clark

I went to see Sandra Doore’s work, Horizontal Desires, at Xchanges. 3 times. The first and third times, the work had been removed to give room to the weekly life drawing sessions which take place in the gallery at Xchanges, leaving to see only three perfect holes in the ceiling and three perfect ceiling-hole sized plugs screwed into the floor. Nothing else, just remnants in a white room and little scattered bits of fluffy stuff, maybe insulation or something.

During my second visit, which was on a Saturday, during official gallery hours, I did indeed see the installation in its entirety. Three silver poles wedged between the holes in the ceiling and the plugs on the floor. And three bulging shapes. In a white room, nothing else, but bits of fluff scattered about on the floor.

People told me, before I went, that the work was very sexy. People told me this in the slightly breathless voices of early arousal. I remembered that some of Sandra Doore’s previous work incorporated panties and that they looked a bit like large grey penises encased in lace, some kind of man/woman blend suggesting intercourse or maybe cross dressing or the Transgendered.

But Horizontal Desires, no. If this is sexy, I wonder what is sexy? There are three shapes on silver poles in a white room, with bits of fluff on the floor. Extending from the top of each shape is a tunnel of wrinkled material clasping each pole, like vaginas encasing and giving, in rhythm, to the thrust of a cock, but the shapes are not women (or men for that matter).

The shapes are smooth and softly curving, the textures soft and varied like perfect skin. It’s easy to say yes, they are bodies, women’s bodies, they are sexy, clinging to poles, but I cannot. I feel resistance. They are not women’s bodies. They are not women. They are not sexy. They are disembodied, they are nothing but shapes with random, disfiguring splotches of stitching, clinging to silver poles.

The stitching is horrific. It makes me feel disgusted. It’s ugly and crazy. It scares me; it’s so relentlessly disordered, crossing and looping and making tangled senseless lines, completely useless. Who sews like that, unless you are a child, an impatient, stupid, greedy child?

I saw the installation with a friend, her 14 year old daughter and her daughter’s friend. Later in the car, the girls told me about a movie they’d seen where women were sewn together, mouth to ass, so that food became shit and shit became food.

It’s not sexy. There’s sickness there instead. I don’t know why. It’s so much bigger and endless than anything I could write in words on this page for this website. And maybe no one would care anyways.

There is some need perhaps. Some need for resistance.


  1. A strong reaction Christine. Sandra would probably not be disappointed :)

  2. My favourite line is: 'if this is sexy, then I wonder what is sexy?'. This is very Gertrude Stein... nice....