Friday, January 16, 2009
These beautifully disturbing and erotic images are from "1970, Toshio Saeki", a French edition of the brilliant artist's early work that was limited to 2000 copies.
My admiration for him is absolute. He marries the grotesque to the erotic and delights in busting social and cultural taboos.
He portrays lust as honestly as he portrays anger, rebellion and the consequences of betrayal.
There is no other artist like Saeki, although contemporaries such as Suehiro Maruo and Junji Ito share his fascination for the grotesque, as does Hideshi Hino, the godfather of this genre.
Saeki steps beyond the boundary because he understands that boundaries decimate creativity.
The taboo-breaking French artist Antoine Bernhart (see his "Untitled" below) has created hellishly erotic work that deserves to stand alongside Saeki for it mines a similar vein and is equally amazing.
Writes Alex Papa in the introduction to "Rope, Rapture & Bloodshed" (Mondo Bizzarro Press; 2000), an amazing catalog that showcases work from Bernhart and Japan-based Trevor Brown: "His (Bernhart's) watercolor washes him with a sexual fervor, still fresh in the memory, and when the brushstrokes become more refined, the imagination explodes into an orgiastic infernal-psychedelic riot. Everyone is welcome to join Bernhart's theatre of cruelty, where the stage is filled with traditional Japanese theatre and dance characters... It is art that is visceral and virile, an art that sweats blood and sperm. It is violent without a doubt, but Bernhart's violence is a creative force, it is never purely destructive."