Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 14:46 UK

Fritzl art 'not for shock value'

The exhibit will be on display until 10 October

An artist has denied his latest installation, which was inspired by Austrian Josef Fritzl, was created for "shock value".

Euphoria is a combination of a surreal, vacant pornography film-set and the basement where Fritzl imprisoned his daughter for 24 years.

"This show came about as it was based on sexual ideologies, in my case in the mass media," said Nicolas Ruston.

It is part of the De$ire exhibition at London's Holster Projects gallery.

'Mass media'

Ruston said he used the Fritzl as a "case study" and he "wasn't doing it for the shock value".

In March Fritzl was found guilty of all charges against him, including rape, incest, enslavement and murder, and was sentenced to life in prison.

"The sexual part of the Josef Fritzl story was sold as a commodity, which is very much the way the commercial world works," Ruston said.

"But the thing I was really engaged by was the fact that the children of Elisabeth had been born into an environment where their only window to the world was through the TV, through the mass media."

The gallery said the exhibition, which also includes work from Daniel Edwards, Noritoshi Hirakawa and Alyssa Phoebus, "explores contemporary sexual ideologies".

Nicolas Ruston
I was trying to create a fantasy world in this very claustrophobic place. The lighting is a baby pink, quite cold. I wanted it to be a bit cold and confusing
Nicolas Ruston

Ruston said he wanted to "try and imagine what it was like to be in that environment if your only interpretation of the outside world was through the TV".

He added: "If you only ever saw the sun rise on TV, you would only ever see the trees or nature on TV.

"I was trying to create a fantasy world in this very claustrophobic place. The lighting is a baby pink, quite cold. I wanted it to be a bit cold and confusing.

"I also wanted to illustrate the difference between making love and pornography. I think that is a metaphor for the way people relate to the mass media.

"For example, you look at the hoards of people who were in tears Michael Jackson's death. These are people who had never met Michael Jackson, but they thought they had met him, they thought they had grown up with him, they thought they knew him. These are the people who have hundreds of friend on Facebook. That is the sort of phenomenon that interests me."

The exhibit will be on display until 10 October.



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