Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Published June, 2011
44 pages, 6.5 x 9 inches soft bound, two colors
This book was mailed free of charge to me by the enigmatic Portuguese publisher MMMNNNRRRGGG. I was immediately drawn to its effective use of artistic sensibilities that referenced ancient Greek imagery in an Art Deco/Nouveau context; probably Aubrey Beardsley. There is however a modernist simplification of those styles, the hatching and meticulous rendering are traded for minimalist washes of pink and careful line work, which evoke at times Japanese Ukiyo-e or the pop art of Roy Lichtenstein. The group responsible for this book is a collective going by the name of "Empirio." One of their members is photographed here. (Hey, good lookin'.)
Though the manifesto discusses sexuality as its main focus, it does not often go into any graphic depiction either visually or in wording. Most of the book appears neutral; so this work is genuinely philosophical while being sexually oriented. Of course their are a few explicit images but the majority of the illustrations feature empty rooms and scenery. Its main points are to seek out sex as an abstract concept and to undermine the limitations imposed by mainstream society. The unhealthy conventions such as gender identity, marriage, and gender inequality are questioned here. Sex is also viewed as a liberating, spiritual experience rather than a biological or soulless act.