IVORY DUNGEON, 2014-2016

  • Muladhara Linga (Chakra Yantra #1), or Expansion Object (The Universe Within), 2014.
  • Performance Study (Thoughts on Interactive Sculpture), 2015.
  • Ivory Dungeon (Installation Detail), 2014.
  • The Regulator, 2014.
  • Ivory Dungeon (Video Stills), 2014.
  • Agnus Dei (No. 1-3), 2013-2015. Installation view.


Each individual has an absolute right to satisfy his sexual instinct as is physiologically proper for him. The one injunction is to treat all such acts as sacraments. One should not eat as the brutes, but in order to enable one to do one’s will. The same applies to sex. We must use every faculty to further the one object of our existence. -Aleister Crowley

Ivory Dungeon is a body of work by Ryan Brewer that is comprised of sculpture, photography, and video of a private collaborative performance with Alan Joseph Marx. The project sought to debunk the increasing homogenization of queer culture and further explore insular proclivities of the Cult of Male. Through the agency of personal exploration and expression, the project also considers the body’s potential capabilities as a source of creative, psychic, and spiritual power. The work was inspired in part by studies in Tantric Buddhism and Sex Magick. Through internal expansion, external energies may propel evolutionary progress.

The project manifests as separate yet thematically linked pieces, each successively contributing to the body of work. They are:

1. Muladhara Linga (Chakra Yantra #1), or Expansion Object (The Universe Within), 2014.

Originally created by Ryan Brewer for The Botanica, a group exhibition at Invisible Exports (NYC) and Carroll & Sons (Boston), 2014.

Material: Cast-Concrete, Felt, Steel Hardware, Petroleum Jelly.

Dimensions: 10” diameter, 14” height (Variable)

Pulling inspiration from stone carved Shiva-Linga ritual objects, this cast-concrete sculpture offers a queer perspective to traditional Tantric views of the cosmic void as vaginal and/or inherently female in nature. The idea was to create a form that conceptualizes the void, or cosmos, in correspondence to the human asshole as divine space, thus bypassing the gender binary and offering, instead, this universal human cavity as a point of cosmic access. The work simultaneously corresponds to Muladhara, the root chakra, anatomically located above the anus; the butt plug form takes the place of Shiva’s traditional phallus.

2. Performance Study (Thoughts on Interactive Sculpture), 2015.

Created by Ryan Brewer as part of Ivory Dungeon, a collaboration with Alan Joseph Marx.

C-print, 4 3/4″ width x 6″ length; Matted & Framed, 11″ width x 14″ length

Performance Study (Thoughts on Interactive Sculpture) captures a private moment of Brewer’s exploratory process in sculpture and performance practices. The image builds upon the artist’s ideas of human anatomy as a point of cosmic access–specifically the human asshole as divine space–thus bypassing the gender binary and offering, instead, this universal human cavity as a site of learning and expansion. Tropes of gay male eroticism (jockstraps and athletic footwear), however, remind of the power of play, freedom of expression, and specificity of queer representations.

3. The Regulator, 2014.

Created by Ryan Brewer as part of Ivory Dungeon, a collaboration with Alan Joseph Marx.

Material: Cast PVC, Makita Hammer-Driver Drill, 18V Lithium-Ion battery, battery charger, stainless steel hardware, carrying case.

Dimensions: Dong- 7″ length, 5” circumference (Variable); Drill (w/ case)-  17″ x 10″ x 5″

The Regulator is a synthetic caricature of masculinity and aggression. If form follows function–and farce not too far behind–then the body’s response to the work might be more accurate than the mind’s. The object unifies phallic form with a handheld cordless power tool, specifically an 18-volt Makita Hammer Driver/Drill. Cast PVC phallus is retrofitted with stainless steel hardware for easy and secure assembly.

4. Ivory Dungeon, 2014-2016.

Created by Ryan Brewer and Alan Joseph Marx.

Performance for video. Run time: 62 minutes.

Themes of abject intimacy are explored through overtly gay, fetishistic, and extreme physical interactions between Brewer, Marx, and various handcrafted props. The entirety of the action takes place within a translucent cube of plastic tarps, at once evoking a serial killer’s torture chamber or a shoddy white cube gallery. The Ivory Dungeon is literal place as much as homosexual allegory of integration resistance and/or heteronormative contention.

5. Agnus Dei (No. 1-3), 2013-2015. 

This mixed media triptych by Ryan Brewer represents resolution for Ivory Dungeon. Prior performance objects become relics applied to sheepskin, suggesting sacrifice. A golden fleece for each sacrament, flesh stands in for flesh, honoring the body, the implement, and the Creator. Endurance in exchange for evolution; discipline in exchange for total, absolute freedom.

Material: Wood, paper, stainless steel hardware, sheepskin, leather/stainless steel flogger, wood/steel flail, wood baseball bat.

Dimensions: 33 1/2 in. x 45 1/2 in. x 2 1/2 in. (ea.)

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