Kian Benson Bailes is an artist based in the west of Ireland, who makes work focusing on queer culture and works using multi-media. Using digital collage, his work is an extension of his sketch book thinking. Using collage allows him to discover how materials and processes could develop and be realised through other media and how it can be integrated into the final work. He considers collage a useful way to work with motifs and visual language to investigate his topic of inspiration and its proximity in heteronormative culture, specifically art history. With this ongoing body of work he’s interested in the representation of gay male intimacy, the spaces that intimacy inhabits and its cultural context.
Working with found pornographic images is a way for me to interrogate the representation of bodies in queer culture as well as the space gay porn institutions hold in terms of the discourse around sex education, masculinity and the body politic. I think most gay mens experiences of pornography are one of the few educational tools they have in terms of gay sex and I'm interested in the moral and ethical implications that exist for pornographic institutions and platforms.
I think the ongoing commodification of queer culture for the heteronormative lens falls foul of the same types of misogyny, racism, ableism and ageism you find in heteronormative culture and you can see these issues appear in institutional depictions of sex and fantasy, a good example being the fetishisation and racially charged language porn studios use when discussing POC porn actors.
I've deconstructed and rebuilt these images to try and create an alternative historical narrative, one where queer bodies, queer acts, and their proximity to institutions are re-imagined amongst the canon of art history and its tradition to still life and portraiture.
For more works by Kian, you can find him on Instagram here.