Legal Pleasures, Artistic Desires

2024-06-19 03:22:00

Madhavi Menon, Sunil Gupta, Surya HK

Legal Pleasures, Artistic Desires


March 16, 2022    
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Bookings closed

On one hand, the State enables expressions of desire in art and sexuality, through the instrumentality of law, via recognition and a rights-based discourse. On the other hand, the very same legal instruments restrict expressions of desire in art and sexuality, via regulation and censorship. The infinite varieties of desire in art and sexuality are seen not as emotional and experiential acts of humanity, but as instances of criminality.

What exactly is the role of the law in governing desires vis-a-vis art and sexuality? Why do ‘public’ institutions such as Governments and Courts sit in judgement on ‘private’ matters such as sex? Who decides what is considered obscene, immoral, and unnatural? If beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, why are some visuals and viewing experiences portraying sex and sexuality outside the register of being considered ‘artistic’?

Join author and queer theorist Professor Madhavi Menon and award-winning photographer Dr. Sunil Gupta in this transgressive exchange with MAP’s Surya HK, and explore the fascinating intersections of law, art, and desire.


Bookings are closed for this event.

Madhavi Menon

Professor, Ashoka University

Madhavi Menon is Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality at Ashoka University. She is the author of several books on queer theory, most recently Infinite Variety: A History of Desire in India (Speaking Tiger, 2018), and The Law of Desire (Speaking Tiger, 2021).

Sunil Gupta


Sunil Gupta lives in London and has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. A retrospective of his work was shown at The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2020/21) and is now on view ar theRyerson Image Center, Toronto. He is a Professorial Fellow at UCA, Farnham. His latest book is London 1982 (Stanley Barker, 2021) and his current exhibitions include Every Moment Counts: AIDS and its Feelings at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway. His work is in many private and public collections including the Tokyo Museum of Photography, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Tate, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His work is represented by Hales Gallery (New York, London), Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto) and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi).

Surya HK

Events, MAP

Surya HK is a Young India Fellow & Salzburg Global Fellow, and manages events at MAP. He was previously Chief of Staff to Samir Jain, at the Vice Chairman’s Office of The Times of India Group. He has organised several international literature festivals & conclaves, and has also worked on election campaigns & conducted legislative research for Members of Parliament, done outreach on behalf of NGOs, and advised event committees on programming.

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