Veum’s work in the ‘Desire’ exhibition, 2012

It isn’t hard to see what it is that attracts viewers and critics about Steingrim Veum’s ‘Orgy’ images. In the starkest, most no-nonsense way they strip sex and pornography to the absolute essentials, making it impossible not to wonder why our culture makes so much of such an everyday, uniform, biological function.

As Veum says of his work, ‘I like rationality, mathematics, tactility. The brain is our most important organ. It is also our most important sexual organ. It fascinates me because I do not understand it. I do not understand sexuality. In many ways it is so silly. Pornography is very silly. I think it is silly that I find it arousing. I like to look at my drawings as a way of making fun of myself. I think it is important to laugh at your mirror. I like laughter.’

And it’s the humorous incongruity of all the sex in the ‘Orgy’ series that is maybe most compelling. Do the impersonalised participants represent what we imagine a real orgy to be like, or do they show that the pornographic imagination is ultimately mechanistic and sterile?

One critic characterised Veum’s art as IKEA porn; it’s easy to see why.

Veum’s works were collected in August 2011 in a limited-edition volume published by the Catalunya-based publisher Emboscadura Ediciones entitled Orgy.