'Auto sex' 1968 was first exhibited in Oxford, England, in a solo show of Robert Boynes's work curated by Nick Waterlow at the Bear Lane Gallery. Its overarching themes were best described by writer Ian North as 'sexual exploitation, technological dehumanisation and (a reflection of Hockney) Mediterranean travel' . 'Auto sex' was originally titled '… towards an even more vainer death than no master whose', which is a quote from 'Texts for nothing #8' by Samuel Beckett, one of Boynes's literary influences at the time.
The work was later renamed 'Auto sex': a didactic summation of the imagery, which synthesises car culture, eroticism and violence, in a comment on the frivolity of post-war society. During the late 1960s Boynes had been collecting clippings from magazines to use as source material for his pop art inspired paintings. The surreal juxtaposition of bare breasted pin-up models, fast vintage cars, and floating engine parts in 'Auto sex' derives from this process.
1. Ian North, 'The dilemma of Robert Boynes' in Bulletin of the Art Gallery of South Australia, 1977, vol 35, p 11
'... towards an even more vainer death than no matter whose'
Place where the work was made
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
151.3 x 151.0 x 3.0 cm stretcher
Signature & date
Signed and dated u.r. verso on canvas, black fibre-tipped pen "Boynes/ '68".
Gift of the artist 2015. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© Robert Boynes. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Robert Boynes - paintings, Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford, 29 Mar 1969–19 Apr 1969
Referenced in 2 publications
Bear Lane Gallery, Robert Boynes, 'Robert Boynes-paintings', Oxford, 1969, n.pag.. cat.no. 5; titled '... towards an even more vainer death than no matter whose'; priced 135 guineas
Peter Haynes, Robert Boynes 3 decades: a survey of the artist's work from the 1960s to the 1990s, Canberra, 1995, 9. general reference to the 1969 Bear Lane Gallery solo exhibition