Home Affairs brings together the works of Adelaide-based artist Dylan Pimm and author Alex Dunkin for the first time to create a unique exhibition and book launch. Both speak to blaze about their works.
Imagine a world where homosexuality is the norm: how would we live our lives, how would we make our homes? These are the themes Alex Dunkin explores in his latest novel Homebody.
“My novel, Homebody, started as a research piece into historic English literature banned for its ‘lewd’ content,” Dunkin explains.
“There seemed to be a pattern of banned texts that featured sexually liberated women who don’t adhere to the roles of marriage, babies and homemaking.”
The novel ended up taking on its own form, diverging from the area of research by making homosexuality the dominant social norm whilst maintaining the traditional ideas of getting married and starting a family.
“It was fun to then experiment with a character discovering personal and sexual freedom from ‘traditional life’ in a queer-dominant society set in contemporary times,” Dunkin says.
“The removal of modern-day challenges to LGBTI people posed by heteronormativity creates space to explore the ideas of what exactly tradition means when presented away from our social norms.”
Dunkin approached artist Dylan Pimm with a view to creating artworks to complement the themes in the novel.
“From the first moment Alex approached me with this idea the whole project sounded like it would be a lot of fun, and so I jumped at the chance to work with him,” Pimm says.
“I‘ve never created pieces based on a literary text before, so I was a bit nervous about doing the novel justice. Alex was open to giving me a lot of artistic freedom, which I applied very liberally.
“The only logical thing to do, when a gay author approaches you –a gay painter – to hold an exhibition based on his queer romance novel in a queer arts festival, is to ask your drag queen housemate to pose seductively holding an iron!”
The novel and the artworks diverge significantly, yet manage to complement each other.
In the novel Homebody, Aaron and his banker husband David live in an alternate reality where homosexuality is the norm. As Aaron starts to realise the deficiencies in their relationship, it creates a void which he fills with explorations of his body, sexuality and the society beyond the sheltered bubble of his home. Dunkin says the novel seeks to emulate the themes of books such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Fanny Hill to present a contemporary homo-normative narrative.
On the other hand, in Pimm’s series of portraits disaster strikes the household!
However, Mrs Vivienne Lynch effortlessly maintains her poise and effervescence. “Her ongoing efforts to maintain a feminine mystique while attending to her husband, his guests, and a perpetual stream of responsibilities is a Sisyphean task that remains overlooked,” Pimm says.
As different as they are, both the creative works of Dunkin and Pimm explore the role of a queer homemaker as they seek to challenge what constitutes ‘tradition’ within the home.
The exhibition and book launch will kick off at The Mill Adelaide, 154 Angas Street, Adelaide, on October 7th 2016 from 6pm.