Collecting – an unbounded passion
Collecting itself is a primeval instinct that is still alive in every child. This drive is of cultural value, as it aims at preserving, what otherwise succumbs to transitoriness. Its charm lies in the fact that by constructing a collection the collector gradually builds a work that can go beyond its own temporality: great collectors have built themselves a little way into their own immortality. But every lived moment can also make feverish the passionate collector if he believes he has found a piece that his collection still lacks. In the worst case, he, the founder of his collection, becomes his servant, and his initial freedom becomes an addiction that keeps him on the hunt. Because collecting generally has its roots in the erotic, in the anal drive, this addiction is that of an eroticist.
Thus the collector of Erotica collects consistently and without detours immediately near the roots of this instinct.
We have known erotic art for millennia. Often it was the expression of a celebration of joy of life. In the history of the Christian Occident, however, it was often ostracized, frowned upon, destroyed and thus condemned to an existence in underground. It was always a desire for freedom that sought expression in it. It were collectors who then against all moral verdicts granted asylum to this art. Erotica do not always have to fulfill the high demand of being “art”: we find erotica in all cultural forms, from the most pretentious to the most banal, even the most vulgar; however, these objects always remain cultural-historical documents, which tell us about the respective social adaptation of the sexual drive and the erotic.
There are times that are favorable to the Eros, and times that are more influenced by its antagonist: Thanatos. Right now, since about the middle of the 90s, the ugly image of Eros dominates again: a picture characterized by aggressiveness, abuse and violence, branded by AIDS. Art scandals in recent times show that under the influence of American Puritanism, but also a misunderstood feminism, the freedom of art is in danger again. Unnoticed, the censorship spreads again. “Unnoticed” because sometimes we do not know anymore what we are being denied in the name of morality … The collector, however, objected to these tendencies, although sometimes only secretly, “sous le manteau”.
Hans Jürgen Döpp
Author / collector of erotic art and owner of one of the biggest graphic collections in Europe. Honorary Professor at the Department of Erotic Art on the (privately sponsored) Institute for Sexual Science, St. Petersburg. He opened in 2015 with a collector’s friend in Cologne the Venusberg-Erotic Museum : www.venusberg.koeln