New exhibition 2019-2020

Sex & the Sea


Saskia Boddeke

An exhibition of the desire and longing of seamen

Being away from home for long periods of time makes seamen forget their ordinary values and routine behaviour in order to reduce desire and longing. Does the sea reveal a man’s true nature? Or does it create a new reality?
Figureheads have stood at the prow of ships for centuries, waiting patiently by the berth to take seamen far away from home. During the weeks and months on the sea, she was the only woman on board and bent every man to her will. The high seas became a canvas for the fantasy that furnished their longing. Fruit of the Seychelles palm trees that floated in the waves loomed to seamen as flesh, arousing desire in men who were far from home.
Surrounded by endless waters, living in narrow spaces and working side-by-side on routine tasks, a seaman is, nevertheless, free. He is free of rules, expectations and obligations that steer life at home, on land. Sea creates a new reality, entwining fantasy with actuality in exotic harbours.
The world that we see is poetical and practical, mysterious, and trivial with its truthful confessions and historical objects. It accommodates sensual mermaids and excruciating venereal diseases. Seamen have experienced and described such sensations for centuries. This world, common and timeless all at once, could haunt us even as spectators.
The exhibition Sex & the Sea by Saskia Boddeke, a Dutch multimedia artist, enables us to experience the mysterious and unknown freedom of seamen.

Author: Saskia Boddeke, Luperpedia Foundation
Project managers: Annette Mosk (Luperpedia Foundation), Mihkel Karu, Teele Siig, Ruth Ristmägi (Estonian Maritime Museum)
Marketing: Iris Tomson (Estonian Maritime Museum)
Marketing design: Tuumik


Science Centre AHHAA, Museum of Saaremaa, Museum of Hiiumaa, University of Tartu Museum, University of Tartu Natural Art Museum, Estonian Health Care Museum, Järva County Museum (Estonia);
Finnish Maritime Museum, Merikeskus Wellamo, Merikeskus Forum Marinum, Ålands Sjöfartsmuseum, Purjelaivakonttori, Suomen Siirtolaisuusmuseo, Luonnontieteellinen keskusmuseo Luomus (Finland);
Het Scheepvaart Museum, Zuiderzee Museum, Fries Scheepvaart Museum (Netherlands);
Maritime Museum of Sweden;
Maritime Museum of Denmark;
Private partners from Estonia and outside.


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