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Venus Jasper is a queer visual artist, storyteller, world builder, performative priestess, researcher, educator, writer, and curator, currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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Auto-Fellatio Herma Druid Dude

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Stone sculpture, approx. 2500 mm high and 400 mm wide and deep. Permanently installed in the woodlands near Erkelsdorf, Germany.

We see a stone sculpture perched on top of a natural tree-outcropping, wearing a hemp-fibre wig, crowned with dried Lunaria annuax(1), red berries for eyes, and covered ceremoniously with butter during the full moon.

In ancient Greek, a herma (ἑρμῆς, pl. ἑρμαῖ hermai), is a stone or ceramic sculpture with a head and perhaps a torso above a plain, usually squared lower section, on which male genitals may also be carved at the appropriate height. The word has an etymological connection with the Greek word ἕρματα (érma, meaning blocks of stone), and later became more and more related to sculptures of the god Hermes, which in turn were inspired by Pan, ancient god of fields, groves, wooded glens, and sex.

In the ancient European world, piles of stones were often found by the sides of roads, especially at crossings and on the boundaries of lands. Respect was paid to such heaps of stones, by a passer-by's throwing a stone on to the heap, or anointing it with oil. It was seen as a place of protection for the land and the road.

The work references to Germanic and Pagan effigies found by Romans in the woodlands of Gaul, but also Hermaphroditus, the two-sexed child of Aphrodite and Hermes that has long been a symbol of androgyny or effeminacy, and was portrayed in Greco-Roman art as a female figure with male genitals.

In ways, the work can be seen as a self-portraiture, depicting a queer ritual figurine in the act of auto-fellatio, eternally keeping watch of the woodlands.

  • This sculpture was made during a stone-carving course in 2012, as part of my MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. It is permanently installed in a woodlands in Erkelsdorf, Germany.
  • The work was shown as part of an educational experience initiated by Bernd Krauss, taking place at the stone masonry workshop of Walburga Herrmann. The work was presented at a one-day event called Graves + Caves, also featuring works by Anna Maria Luczak, Joakim Hallstrom, Jason Hendrik Hansma, Olivia Dunbar, Kevin Gallagher, Kym Ward and James Whittingham.

(1) In the earliest surviving recipe for a flying ointment, the plant Lunaria is included as the herbal ingredient corresponding astrologically to the moon

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