Prostitution: Go behind the curtain

Article published on April 19, 2012
Article published on April 19, 2012
By Alfonso de Cea Translated by Danica Jorden La Fonderie, in collaboration with Espace P, is hosting until 7 April 2012 an exposition entitled, Prostitution, passez derrière le Rideau… (Prostitution, Go Behind the Curtain). It’s a collection of photographs by Frédéric Pauwels, accompanied by stories of prostitutes in and around Brussels, illustrating the history of the world’s oldest profession.

Behind the Curtain

Learn about a misunderstood world, inclined to prejudice and erroneous representations,” reads the invitation of Espace P, an association that defends the rights of persons who prostitute, the people around them and their clients, and everything you’ve always wanted to know about prostitution but were afraid to ask. What is the intimate relationship between the person who prostitutes and their client? What are the terms and limits of the moral contract between them?

Sometimes the limits are too restrictive: “ I promised that I would never fall in love, because then we couldn’t see each other anymore. I kept my word! ” declares a client. In all human relations, there are always things that happen that weren’t expected. Sonia relates, “ You can come here for sex and then be bowled over by what happens, it’s impossible to foretell. ” Each plays their part and gets their share, but a lot more than that occurs behind the curtain.

Intimacy in Prostitution

As well as photographing the sociological aspects, Frédéric Pauwels was interested in the part that intimacy plays in prostitution. “ It’s within that framework that I went into the milieu of prostitution, with that object of research in mind, of the intimate relationships that persons who prostitute experience in their daily lives. ” The exposition seeks to bring up taboos and clichés about intimacy. Everything that happens behind the curtain raises the artist’s interest.

Anastasia is one of the five women who speak freely: “ Why are you only photographing my body? I’m not just a body for rent, I’m also a human being! ” We can’t understand the complexity of their world unless we go behind the curtain.