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From Our Collection: Vart’s “Unwrapping her Wildness”

by Maxwell Cohen

From Our Collection is a monthly essay series featuring analysis of the pieces in the Museum of Crypto Art’s Genesis Collection. All essays originally published on the MOCA Forum, where we invite you in to read, explore, and comment on our 240+ crypto art essays.

Still from “Unwrapping Her Wildness” (2020), by Varterotica. Housed in Museum of Crypto Art Genesis Collection

Date Minted: April 1, 2020

Artist Description: ‘Classic Modern’ Contemporary Artwork. Loud Colors. Unwrap Her Wild Beauty.

I’ve never come across an oeuvre, or a piece within it, quite like that of artist Vart and their work Unwrapping her Wildness. I say this not only for the overt and incredibly realistic depictions of human sexuality in all of its forms (there’s even a depiction of bestiality within the artist’s works, a borderline complete taboo I find myself admiring the artist for simply having the gall to codify), but for the consistency of style we see throughout. This 229-piece SuperRare oeuvre is stuffed with artwork that explores, from different depths and different angles, human sexuality, and always using the same visual style, an incredibly colorful collage of shapes, always with a realism that belies an outwardly cartoonish composition. The piece in M○C△’s collection, Unwrapping her Wildness, is not even the only piece of Vart’s that has this title. The artist is constantly reusing motifs, titles, and color palettes to capture similar situations, an entire simulated lifetime of sexuality — sometimes stimulating, elsewhere repetitive, often quite risqué and ballsy (no pun intended) — and the overall effect on the oeuvre is one of macro-depiction. The individual pieces might well be less important than their culminating effect.

Because while the pieces themselves are all beautiful, highly-elegant color studies, they lack a kind of distinctive energy when presented in such a glut. Many of Vart’s pieces, even those without Unwrapping in the title, mimic the wrapping and unwrapping of a piece of paper, each piece a video loop that is physically unfolded and folded back up. With each unfolding movement, of which there are four in total, a new corner of the image is displayed. The underlying image is revealed to us a piece at a time. At first we see only a leg, an arm, a vulva, a penis, and then another leg, a head, a shoulder, another’s eyes, another’s figure, until the image has unwrapped itself completely. Unwrapping Her Wildness is an apt title for a piece using this style, but many similar pieces maintain this style without a title like that. Herein, there are no specific sexual acts, but instead a woman’s body from the neck down, her legs spread widely, her breasts, navel, and vagina all exposed. Mind you, there is never any sense of shame in these depictions. Not really any added emotion whatsoever. Everything is presented with complete naturalness, and a not-so-subtle admiration even. As mentioned, various body parts are assigned their own unique color. Here, the woman’s breasts are red, her abdomen orange, her calves blue, her thighs purple, and her vagina a red-twinged-with-black. A background of bright turquoise stands behind her, or perhaps underneath her. We might be atop her ourselves. Such audience-inclusive innuendos are common in Vart’s work.

As mentioned, such color studies are omnipresent fixtures in Vart’s works, and I’d even go so far to assert that this one is rather benign in comparison to some of the others. That’s no fault of the artist, this is their very first piece to use that current style. Beforehand, there were experimentations with abstract color or with 3D sculpture, but this is the piece that began the exploration of sexuality (at least as far as I can tell), and everything (bar none) which came thereafter is an expansion of Unwrapping Her Wildness’ energy. Later, however, Vart becomes more consistent with what they’re trying to do in each piece. Vaginas, for instance, are later dressed in bright and antithetical hues, turning them into not only the object of attention for each piece which depicts them, but they become portals of a sort, enveloping the gaze. Heads are often depicted, though without eyes or ears or other identifying features, and are often shown while engaged in a sex act. Though outwardly pornographic, however, these sex acts are always depicted tenderly, with the utmost respect for the sheer sensuality of what’s being depicted, even when those depictions bend towards kink or BDSM.

But again, I want to return to the overall impression of Vart’s work. It reminds me almost of a comprehensive analysis of all human sexuality. It is more like the Karma Sutra visualized than it is a series of independent artworks. In each study, Vart works to understand the many faces of human sexuality, and there is really no limit as to the plurality, genders, sexual orientations, pleasures, perversions, interests, or intimacies of what they capture. But by annihilating all relation to specific human beings, these studies all end up pointing to a kind of ur-person, the spiritual sexuality that, in theory and in general, is as integral to the human condition as skin is. It is not the pleasure or relationship of any specific person(s) that Vart captures, but the essence of such things. The ways in which those pleasures and relationships are captured seem more like the unique postures of some many-faced divinity than the unrelated acts of unrelated people. That the colors change without discernment while the illustrative style remains consistent only bolsters this effect.

And so as we scroll through this long and exhaustive oeuvre, we find ourselves confronting not a series of other individuals — this collection removes the voyeurism from the sexual representations, even when pieces seem to unfold like pages ripped from a porno mag — but reflections of ourselves, even in positions and interactions we would not otherwise know, or imagine ourselves learning about. We are more sexually fluid in Vart’s works than we are in real life, and we are more sexually adventurous. We are more comfortable with our own bodies, and we are more capable of intimacy. Within the differences between the works are our own essences, our own places on the many spectrums of sexuality we perpetually hover between. We are the submissive, and we are the dominant. We are the realistic, and we are the fantastical. Vart’s work is our wildest masturbatory imagination codified into a collection, a pornographic fantasy that is beautiful instead of brutal and invitational instead of scary. It’s more than artwork; it’s a service in self-becoming.

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