“Yes, but there is a whole philosophy why Ron tattooed a sun around his asshole!!!”
That was the first time I ever heard the Ron Aethy and the first time I heard someone tattooed anything around their asshole… well, I was young at the time and little did I know.
Ron is unique character, with a lot of myth around him and his shows. He cuts himself violently, suspends his body on hooks, stretches his asshole for all to see, runs arrows though his muscles while hanging, and yet if you ever see an interview with him, he is an incredible person, calm and deep and philosophical.
His work iconoclastic and explores trauma, SM, religion and sexuality. He also addresses many questions in relation to LGBT society and those infected with HIV.
Although American by birth, he lives in London, teaches at the University and writes for magazines. He is also one of the most written and controversial performance artists to date.
One of the big controversies surrounding the ethics of his work are the blood and selfmutilation performances, mainly because Ron is also HIV infected, and many are terrified of this concept that infected blood is spilled in front of an audience.
Yet, in his own words, you have to be present there in flesh t understand what he is doing, as watching it video can be disturbing due to the loss of context and the rhythm of his shows.
Rons’ work is not for everyone. I personally like it a lot, and I understand his struggle. The need to challenge yourself in the face of adversity, with a cloud of death hanging of you.
Doing what he does with over 30 years of AIDS eating at you, takes not only courage and a touch of insanity – it takes a deep desire to understand one self and the need to free yourself from the limits that we are forced to accept as a defining structure in our lives.