Bristol

Bristol toilet art gallery's velvet genitalia portraits published

'The Beautiful Two' Image copyright Tilly May / Claudio Ahlers
Image caption Visitors were invited to interact with the giant genitalia and 127 people also agreed to have their photos taken

Portraits of people posing with giant velvet genitalia at a former public toilet in Bristol have been published.

Last October, more than 300 people visited the two black sculptures installed at the Edwardian Cloakroom.

Invited to interact with the 2.2m (7ft) tall genitalia, 127 visitors also agreed to have their photos taken.

The results - "The Beautiful Two" - have been published online and artist Claudio Ahlers said he hoped to create similar events in the UK and abroad.

Part of a week-long residency, the sculptures occupied the ladies' and gents' toilets at the former cloakroom, which has been turned into an art space.

Image copyright Claudio Ahlers
Image caption Subjects include a dominatrix, a recently engaged couple and a "confident woman" in a "faux equine outfit"

Created by Mr Ahlers, along with Tilly May and Ellie Gray, visitors were invited "to sit, engage and pose" with the installations in "whatever way they liked".

"The feedback was overwhelmingly positive," said Mr Ahlers.

"Whilst many people came to enjoy the exhibition, many were also enthusiastically posing for photographs."

Documenting "people's reactions, feelings and interpretations", the portraits include a dominatrix "together with her male maid", a recently engaged couple and a lady in riding gear.

But one of the most "surprising" sitters, according to Mr Ahlers, was a young man who arrived having "planned what he wanted to do".

Image copyright Claudio Ahlers
Image caption Photographer Claudio Ahlers, creator of The Beautiful Two, hopes to create similar events in the UK and abroad

"He'd read about the exhibition and when he came in he said 'I know exactly what I'm going to do, I'm going to get naked'.

"I was impressed he'd given it so much thought."

Although some visitors needed "more help" than others, Mr Ahlers said there had also been a "great variety" of "unexpected responses".

"Virtually every contributor was keen to find a personal response to the idea of being photographed with genital sculptures," he said.

"I also took some self-portraits, but I'm going to keep that to myself."

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