While the subject matter is provocative, there’s nothing obviously titillating about Tal R’s “Sexshops” paintings, on show at Victoria Miro (until 20 December). Their appeal is more slow burning and complex.
For the past few years the Copenhagen-based artist has been painting sex shops in Europe, America and the Middle East, often based on photographs sent from friends.
His focus is always on their exteriors, with the façades, signage and architectural details of establishments called Babylon, Venus, Dirty Dick and Paris Chic distilled and flattened into repetitive, visually arresting patterns.
The paintings’ siren call is intensified by the use of pure pigment mixed with rabbit-skin glue, which gives the works such chromatic intensity that they almost appear to be backlit. The muted earthiness of the palette seems somehow out of kilter with the garish connotations of sex shops, something Tal R plays up.
Image: Tal R, Paris Chic, 2017