The End Of Legal Voyeurism

‘The End of Legal Voyeurism’

There are no more peep shows in Western Europe. The last peep show in Amsterdam closed by the end of 2014 and in Belgium in 2015. The so-called peep shows in Rue Saint-Denis and Pigalle are fronts [covers]  for prostitution.


At live peep shows, booths would surround a round stage upon which usually a performer, usually female, did  a striptease [and[ striking [es] sexually explicit poses. Once in the booth the customer closed the door and inserted  coins to open the screen - one euro for 60 seconds.


Retired performers told Peter Bracke that at the end the customers were often older men, sometimes physically or socially handicapped.The days of performing for young men were over. The internet killed the peep show. Voyeurism has turned digital, if not illegal… 


Watching and being watched
Without spectators nudity is one-dimensional. 
With spectators nudity gains context.


The artist presents us with images of a vanished world  - a theatre with girls stripping on a revolving stage - voyeurism from another era.


A universe of visual adultery.

Peter Bracke’s multimedia installation seeks to break down the boundaries that separate photography, painting and visual arts in general.

His  expressive vision was born at the intersection of the crossroads of these art forms.

Taking this point of view Bracke attaches great importance to the picture’s medium, since this gives texture to an otherwise one-dimensional picture. 

The peep show project originated – in part – from previous work called Theatre of Magic in which imaginary theatres and playfields were photographed inside pinball machines. An artificial world of playing and being played.

The real time intimacy of Bracke's work is a refreshing act of resistance to the gravitational pull of the digital world. 

His images slow down and soften the sometimes grey reality of peep shows.
Models seem frozen in their own erotic universe of red velvet and mirrors.

When creating The End of Legal Voyeurism, he did not know that the Musée d’Orsay  in Paris would host a large-scale exhibition titled: 
‘Splendeurs et misères. Images de la prostitution, 1850-1910’ [Splendor and misery. Images of prostitution, 1850-1910]

End Of Legal Voyeurism Exhibition

Pictures are mounted in peeping boxes on a background surrounded by mirrors. The boxes themselves are installed on tripods of various heights.

The pictures were taken with a pinhole camera with long exposures. On the walls around the installation more peep show pictures are exposed. Those are printed on round enamel plates with the dimensions of vinyl picture discs. 


By Dirk Sabbe: