Jana Leo

Close-up shot of the pubis. Two hands are caressing the lips of the vagina, they search amongst the folds as these swell up and softly open up. As the right hand lifts the skin, the left one caresses it, reaches the clitoris, and moves up and down, up and down. It covers every single part of it, constantly massaging the vulva. Suddenly, the hands separate and the film ends abruptly.

The out-of-focus close-up shot of the pubis, filmed in Super-8, is fixed during the whole time that the vulva is being massaged with the fingers. This sex belongs to no one. We cannot discern whether it is the artist herself on screen, or someone else. We could even be watching found footage. It is likewise impossible to know whether we are watching a performance in front of the camera, or an act that has been filmed without the knowledge of the protagonist, or whether the film is a readymade, found footage. The same is the case with this piece’s follow-up, Senxo II.

Jana Leo is a multidisciplinary artist who has worked in photography, video (which she showed in 1999 at Espacio Uno - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid), super-8, performance, essay and fiction writing, architecture and design. Her work is likewise varied and always focussed on spaces of intimacy and processes of self-discovery that, lacking any form of censorship, lead to tenderness, death, and personal and social relations. Due to the artistic context of the piece, references to Courbet’s “The birth of the world”, Annie Sprinkle’s videos, and the feminist performances of the 1970s are easily recognised. Nevertheless, in a different context, it would be impossible to distinguish this video from the manifold exhibitionist productions of amateur sex filmed with a web cam that can be found in any pornographic web site.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Senxo
  • Direction: Jana Leo
  • Production: 2003.
  • Duration: 00:03:20
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright