Photo: Mimi Kohler
Three protagonists: BUTTPLUG series

“Buttplug” explores the multi-layered terrain of human sexuality, touching on contemporary issues of gender relations, dominance & submission and BDSM sexuality. In its dual function, the butt plug also represents the universal human dilemma between pleasure and death.

Buttplug (series), together with Mimi Kohler, ceramic sculptures, 2023

The first protagonists of the Buttplug series:

BUTTPLUG 1 (Tannenbaum/Christmas Tree), ceramic sculpture, 30cm*20cm, oil stain glaze, 2023

BUTTPLUG 2 (Der Heiße/ The Hot One), ceramic sculpture, 50cm*33cm*14,5cm, metal black matt finish2023

BUTTPLUG 3 (Narrenkappe/ Fool‘s Cap), ceramic sculpture, 27cm*24cm, bronze gold2023


Courtesy: Patrick Alan Banfield and Mimi Kohler

To use or not to use? This question arises in the new series “Buttplug” (2023), created in collaboration with Mimi Kohler: large glazed clay sculptures that resemble butt plugs. The smooth, erotic form  is subversively alienated by a decisive intervention: applied thorns and spikes.

Almost everyone has been pricked by a thorn at some point in their lives – a basic, universal experience of pain and nature. Patrick Alan Banfield and Mimi Kohler take this pain and transfer it metaphorically to another level of their art, intensifying the dilemma between sexual pleasure and pain or even death. The potential use of the butt plugs would only be possible once, if at all, and then with life-threatening consequences.

Faced with this choice, users and visitors are confronted with the inherent dilemma of freedom. Sartre, in particular, writes about the concept of the fear of freedom. The decision for or against (the use of) the butt plug confronts the individual with the terrible fear and at the same time with the irresistible fascination that comes from ultimate freedom – the freedom to make a choice that could radically change or even end one’s life.

Buttplug Manifest:

Art is a medium that allows us to understand and reflect on the complexity of our world. The role of art that we, Patrick Alan Banfield and Mimi Kohler, wish to see can be seen as a response to the turbulent and frightening times in which we live. Slavoj Žižek speaks of the four apocalyptic horsemen of our time: the metaphor of capitalism as a virus that inexorably infects us; destabilisation through war and populism; hunger manifested in climate change and social inequality; and finally, the threat of advancing technological developments that could penetrate the very core of our thinking and feeling. Each of these horsemen poses a challenge to individual and collective freedom.

Our artistic work aims to address these apocalyptic challenges and encourage audiences to engage critically with them. It asks questions about freedom, desire and fear, and challenges us to re-evaluate the ways in which we move. Art is a response to the world around us and a tool for shaping our understanding of it. It should not be seen as a mere aesthetic object, but as an act of reflection and interaction with our reality. By addressing these dark issues, we seek to initiate a dialogue about the complex and often contradictory aspects of our common life.

In a threatened world, art can and should play a crucial role in shaping our future. It can help us think critically about our society and its threats, and encourage us to seek innovative solutions. After all, it is art that allows us to imagine a different life, a life that is humane.



“Buttplug” is based on the poster installation “PAINGAINER.biz” from 2023, in which Banfield and Kohler announced the butt plugs in large format and phallically arranged, showing only the outlines of the spines on the outside of a butt plug. The installation was encased in blood-red plastic spikes.

Exhibition views: Kunstbezirk Stuttgart, 2023

PAINGAINER.biz, together with Mimi Kohler, 2023
Poster Installation + promotional website: https://paingainer.biz

Courtesy: Patrick Alan Banfield and Mimi Kohler

3D-Modelling: Nicolas C. Geissler

Graphics Design: Manuel Gensheimer, Mimi Kohler

After Banfield and Kohler’s poster installation ‘PAINGAINER.biz’ had been exhibited several times in the Stuttgart area of southern Germany, it began to become clear what the announced new series of works would actually look like. A 3D model was created by Nicolas C. Geissler, but 3D printing, like bronze casting, was postponed.

The first three “Buttplug” sculptures were gradually created in classic clay ceramics. They are objects based on oversized anal sex toys, but with spikes in the form of barbs and thorns. Even though the butt plugs seem to have a utilitarian character at first glance, they are in fact about whether or not they remain merely visual objects. Life or death?