Title unknown [Male Nude Draping Black Vetti]

Lionel WendtUnknown (1934-38?)

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum

The thin fine cloth covering the lower half of the male youth is called Vetti, a kind of muslin breechcloth used in South India and Sri Lanka. The blurred focus made by a slow shutter speed captures the lightness of the cloth. Lionel Wendt is known as a patron of the famous '43 Group' in Sri Lankan modern art history. He also experimented with avant-garde photography he came to know from surrealism and constructivism when he studied in Europe around 1920. What one may feel from this photograph, however, is not the coolness through the mechanical representation by a camera, but a hot gaze towards the body of the man behind the thin cloth. Wendt was a homosexual. He adored European art while he loved Sri Lankan life and scenery. His appreciation of these elements may have influenced his choice of the subject of a young dark-skinned man who he must have found the beauty of Greek and Roman sculpture.

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  • Title: Title unknown [Male Nude Draping Black Vetti]
  • Creator: Lionel Wendt
  • Date: Unknown (1934-38?)
  • Physical Dimensions: w26.5 x h37.9 cm
  • Type: gelatin silver print


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