Public toilets, Private Affairs
Exhibition 17 November 2017 - 19 February 2018
Vernissage 16. November 2017 19:00

Pissoirs never had a good reputation
Mischief in public toilets left more traces in vice squad logbooks than in high literature. Within the gay community, they remain more a source of shame than pride. And yet, these public aedicules, which sheltered the escapades of so many gay men, transvestites, prostitutes and libertines, were also sites of unbridled freedom. Within these atypical places of transience and sociability, social differences were blurred and otherwise separated cultures briefly mixed. Despite being disparaged as sleazy and dirty, they allowed for immediate, anonymous sexual contacts. They were a godsend to those who could not entertain at home and expose their sexual proclivities to the outside world. To its credit, the old urinal of yore had at least this one advantage…

The reproach of cowardice was often levelled at men who enjoyed cruising in public toilets, whose practices were considered squalid. Yet, have they not in their own way braved taboos? Have they not for well over a century dared experience forbidden pleasures? I wanted these men’s bravery to be acknowledged, and the heady sensuality of places that generated so much excitement to get due recognition.
Marc Martin