Photography: When men have the best sex in their car

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When men have the best sex in their car

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Source: Klartext-Verlag GmbH

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The photographer Brigitte Kraemer has dealt intensively with the relationship between men and their cars. The result of their studies is a deep look into the male soul: involuntarily funny, revealingly open and for women probably as instructive as it is confusing.

HEnthusiastic he kneels in front of it, his mouth half open with desire, his hands holding back with difficulty. No, the man is not crouching in front of a half-naked sex bomb, but in front of a thing made of sheet metal, polished to a shine: The car, as Brigitte Kraemer’s series “Mann und Auto”, which has won the German photo book award, teaches us, is the man’s real pleasure, his fetish and his beliefs, his favorite toys and the goal of almost all of his dreams. Most men shouldn’t go for James Bond’s playmates, but for his hot sledges.

Shortly after the invention of the mobile pedestal, artists began to work on this new wonder. The futurists were fascinated by speed and technology. The car became a symbol of progress and modernity, and a roaring engine, according to the poet Tommaso Marinetti in 1909 in the "Futurist Manifesto", is much "more beautiful than the Nike of Samothrace".

With this he indicated what would henceforth become a topic in art. The eroticization of the car and the comparability with female bodies, the round curves, the shiny skin, the speed that makes you feel intoxicated. Pop artists such as James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol or Tom Wesselmann elevated the car to idol, John Chamberlain became famous with sculptures made from pressed car scrap parts. The happening movement countered the aestheticization of the 1970s with consumer criticism. Wolf Vostell concretes a Cadillac on Berlin’s Ku’damm, while the American group Ant Farm lets a road cruiser race into a tower of televisions. The 41-year-old Sarah Morris is one of the few female artists who takes up the erotic and fetish character of the car by staging a Lamborghini 2005 as the epitome of elegance and coolness.

The multiple award-winning photographer Brigitte Kraemer from Hamm in Westphalia has been using her Leica since the 1980s to capture what male beings of all ages and social classes do with their bodies.

It documents the secret of this close relationship from the beginning in the production hall to the end in the junkyard. Not gaudy or winking, but purely documentary. The result is an amusing, clever and extremely informative typology of the man and car phenomenon. The pictures clearly show one thing: men don’t have the best sex in, but with the car. Who caresses his partner as devotedly as the youngster with his sunglasses pushed up his windshield? Who has ever looked at the gender of his playmate as closely as the guys who lie under cars for hours and study the condition of gasoline lines and exhaust systems in delight? In the sense of marital peace, who would give their spouses a hand in cleaning up like the people of Oberhausen, Teltower or Brandenburg in white suits or with bare chests, who meticulously vacuum, foam, polish and work with glass cleaner on their bodies, hubcaps and interiors?

Cleaning work is ritually celebrated here

Where masculinity and cleaning work seem absolutely incompatible in other areas of life, here they become an extensively celebrated ritual. It can also be doubted that a man pays as much attention to his girlfriend’s outfit as he does to his mobile interior: a young lad with a camouflage hat grins proudly from the side window of his VW, the textile parts of which he matches to his personal olive-beige Designed a military look. Another – contemplating contentedly – opted for a zebra pattern, a black and white little animal in miniature also adorns the dashboard. The orgy in orange and pink plush, controlled by a strong man in a muscle shirt, was particularly unusual.

Macabre preferences are expressed in the form of rubber legs that hang out of the hood of the black-clad owner of a US sled. The hope for higher support for the beloved car-being makes strange waves when a priest in full regalia blesses the sparkling clean vehicle. Retired men even let themselves be carried away to gymnastic stretching exercises on the street before they finally get into their truck.

It can also be quite sociable: The car becomes the scene of joint television and happy card games, tea is made, phone calls in swimming trunks and the youngsters (male of course!) Proudly tried out the steering on their laps. Here I am person, here I can be, so the good news. Women actually have no business here – they are only allowed to strip as an erotic accessory in an accessories hall in front of a horde of purely male visitors.

Everything is about power and physicality, the car is, as the co-worker and writer Jurgen Lodemann puts it, "with its polished rear ends and supple individual limbs a wonderful substitute for the man’s special instinct". It awakens in him the pride of the conqueror, the mighty: Whether the freaks put their loved one to shame in breakneck off-road competitions, hit them with axes in the junkyard, perform mysterious acts in the workshop with welding equipment or like the children toy cars Steering around on Carrera lanes: unlike in the rest of life, the man here has everything under control. He alone is the determiner.

We learn that the car is not just a reflection of its wealth, status, preferences and taste. It is the mirror of the male soul.

Brigitte Kraemer’s illustrated book “Mann und Auto” has been published by Klartext Verlag. The photos can be seen in the Ottilie-Schoenewald-Weiterbildungskolleg, Wittener Strabe 61, in Bochum. Permanently open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m..

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