Author(s): Piotr Uklan
Pornalikes is a book of portraits with a difference, culled from a 2002–2018 photo archive of porn actors who resemble or actually even portray celebrities and public figures. Polish artist Piotr Uklański draws on a stock of hard and soft copies of “dirty” glossy men’s magazines like Hustler and Loaded—as well as a plethora of meme culture material dumped on websites and blogs. In an age in which the dichotomy between signifier and signified has long since come apart at the seams, Uklański, in a dicey combination of criticality and media exploitation, subverts the original expectations of the traditional art-historical topos of portraiture. In this extreme—and extremely absurd—form of portraiture, Pornalikes is hell bent on challenging conventional morality and the bounds of so-called good taste. It shoves us willy-nilly into a postmodern hall of mirrors and trashy picture puzzles amid the morass of celebrity culture and neoliberal instrumentalization and commodification of the human body. It explores the pop-cultural tensions between sexual identity and exploitation, man and woman, fiction and reality, real biography and the story that comes out in the press. Delving into these dichotomies, Pornalikes picks up where the cult series The Nazis and Real Nazis, also published by Edition Patrick Frey, left off.