While London’s Soho undergoes sterilisation with strip clubs and sex shops being swept away in favour of trendy wine bars and hipster coffee shops, so Britain’s laws on pornography are also being cleansed, with the prohibition of the depiction of practices like face-sitting, female ejaculation and even whipping. Now British artist Lucy Sparrow is hitting back at the growing influence of the neo- Puritans and prudery with her latest show: a Soho sex shop created entirely from felt.
In a stinging comment of the hypocrisy of third-wave feminism, Sparrow seeks to challenge the rights of sex workers, fetishists and consumers of porn with the creation of a complete sex shop which, were the exhibits not made from felt, would be illegal. Sparrow’s latest works seeks to test the boundaries of legality. Does a porn magazine created from felt and hand-stitched break Britain’s new porn laws?
As a former worker in the adult industry, where Sparrow earned money to launch her art career through lap dancing, she revisits her past to make a comment on the increasingly prudish attitude towards sex workers and adult entertainment. Her concerns are that increasing restriction drives repression and promotes a Victorian attitude towards what is a natural bodily function.
To illustrate her point, Lucy Sparrow has transformed an entire shop in the heart of Soho into an erotic emporium and from October 7 to 17 the public can visit free of charge to view more than 5,000 sex products ranging from condoms and lubricants, all the way to S&M bondage gear and Fuzzy-Felt peep shows. Sparrow has spent the past six months stitching felt porn mags, DVD covers and various sex aids. The show gives the opportunity for those who know little of the sex retail industry to satisfy their curiosity without the need for floor-length trench coats and dark glasses.
Entitled Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium, the installation stands in stark contrast to Lucy Sparrow’s family friendly Cornershop which opened in 2014 in Bethnal Green. Cornershop showed Sparrow’s playful and ingenious side, delighted thousands of visitors and was greeted with great acclaim by the London art scene. Madame Roxy’s may not be suitable for small children but it’s sure to be as thought-provoking and to create as much a buzz as Cornershop did.
Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium will open daily at 2 Green’s Court, London, W1F 0HB. No under 18s. More information from www.madameroxys.co.uk