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Solitary Pleasures
Chantal Faust “Float” (2003-2018)

An inclusive group exhibition celebrating masturbation is here

Using Sigmund Freud’s theories as a jump-off point, Solitary Pleasures champions self-pleasure

In 1912, at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, Sigmund Freud concluded, “We all agree on one thing – that the subject of masturbation is quite inexhaustible.”

Over 100 years later, this quote is being used as a point of departure for Solitary Pleasures, a group exhibition that explores the act of self-pleasure, and a recurring topic in Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis, sexuality, and eroticism. Artists such as Antony Gormley, Beth Stephens, Emma Talbot, and Shannon Bell, to name a few, represent the inclusive exhibition, with works that investigate a spectrum of gay, lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual, trans, queer, + experiences.  

Now open at the Freud Museum London until 13 May, the press release notes, “Ultimately, this exhibition aims to celebrate masturbation as a ‘solitary pleasure’, as opposed to a ‘solitary vice’, as a pleasure that is universal and particular, collective and individual, and that is mutual; a shared exchange, an intimate encounter.”

By utilising pre-Freudian, Freudian, and post-Freudian theory as jump-off points, Solitary Pleasures aims to challenge the idea that the act of masturbation is something “unnatural” or “unhealthy” and instead celebrates it as “a vital force, as a creative and magical act, and as ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’.”

Solitary Pleasures – curated by Dr Marquard Smith – runs at London’s Freud Museum until 13 May 2018