Art Provocateur Gallery and STRUCK Contemporary have collaborated to bring THIS IS LUST to Toronto – a special event dedicated to celebrating sexuality and beauty of the female form through fashion editorial and nude art photography.
Hosted at Struck Contemporary gallery in the heart of Toronto, THIS IS LUST, brings a selection of limited edition fine art photographs from over 20 artists from around the globe. All pieces to be displayed at this premier event have been collected, tastefully, curated, and disseminate by visionary Marta Skky of Toronto and are designed to evoke curiosity, lust and desire.
“We must make lust into a work of art”
Art Provocateur Gallery is a global e-commerce platform that features tastefully curated, provocative, limited edition fine art prints and original artworks. Founded by two Toronto female entrepreneurs, APG supports some of the best editorial and nude art photographers in the world — from high fashion to BDSM and romantic erotica. Art Provocateur is a celebration of empowered sexuality through fine art photography.
Maybe today it's easy to succeed in the art of erotica, if by that for an artist, is meant to make an exhibition and find their name in the newspaper. But what really separates some artists from all...
Maybe today it’s easy to succeed in the art of erotica, if by that for an artist, is meant to make an exhibition and find their name in the newspaper. But what really separates some artists from all others is the ability to be noticeable without being aware that they have achieved this level of recognition. Despite numerous painters, who are lovers of paintbrushes and tempera, there are the artists who have driven their passion towards the digital and photography. One of them, the rarest among all, is Jan Saudek, a renowned Czech photographer.
“There are too many imitators – I do not want to show the way to anyone anymore.” – Jan Saudek
Born in Prague in 1935, several years just before World War II, Saudek is forced to face the consequences that will follow only because of his origins. His father was Jewish and many of his relatives ended their lives in a concentration camp. Jan and his brother were also deported to the camp, separated from their father, who shared the same fate with their sons. All of them survive this period. Stuck between memories of murdered children, the sound of shots, a person’s last breaths and his dreams, Jan begins to explore the possibilities and the magic of photography. In 1950 he got his first camera, Kodak Baby Brownie. This was the beginning of the art war lead by Jan against the political system, his family and his lustful dreams.
To understand his art, you need to glance into the deepest and darkest parts of his being. He is like a house with many floors and windows, each one offering a different view. Jan Saudek is the second child in the family, and as he said, “he is predestined to spend all his life as No. 2.” Saudek yearned for physical love since his young years. He lost his virginity at 15, with a girl who was also a virgin. His life is filled with failed relationships, passionate relationships, ruined marriages and separation from his children. Saudek, like any conscious artist, has managed in his own way to fight against the military and the communist regime. Often, he had no opportunity to express his views through his works because they were banned. Travelling to the USA was the first step that led Jan to success. He explored all forms of art, but mostly focused on his unique life companion: photography.
Jan Saudek has the courage that many of us dream of.
Life experiences, passions and interests are transferred to the works of Jan Saudek. He creates paintings and photos that speak of: the beauty of life, childhood, dreams, desires and unfulfilled plans, human nature, body and nudity, love and hate, sexuality and sexual attraction, passion, sadism and masochism, domination, melancholy, depression and doubts, life and death, fantasies hidden in the human mind. The works of this extraordinary artist could be the new art genre that has not been named yet.
Eroticism in the works of this Czech genius is shown through human body and nudity. Jan Saudek has the courage that many of us dream of. Through his photographs, he depicts the female body the way it is, no uniformity, no stereotypes or rules. The female body is presented as a figure of femininity. Sex, penetration, defloration and making love are not taboo for Jan Saudek. Rather, he revives these moments by putting emphasis on the most intimate parts of the human imagination. What other people were seeing as prohibited, incompatible and kitsch – Jan Saudek has used it as the foundation of his art. In the late seventies, his black and white images gain a new dimension; Saudek began to use techniques, which included color, tinting and hand painting. Using bold colors, Saudek reaches climax in displaying his individuality. His works not only depict nudity; they themselves are nudity. They are honest, open, without fear or embarrassment to show what lies in the mind and soul of an artist or a simple man. Many of the models in the pictures were his wives, girlfriends, lovers, and children.
The representation of women and the female body is easily noticeable in Saudek’s photographs. He exalts the naked body of a woman in a sophisticated, erotic way. Often it can be aggressive, even grotesque. The female sex organ, its utilization or purity is shown with unprecedented passion. Some of his photos show details of masochism and sadism, sexual domination of masculinity that owns the female body – all this without the intention to harm the woman. Rather, he loves all women beings through his sincere art. The male body is also represented. It is solid, tight and good-looking. The man in the work of Saudek adores the woman; he is experiencing sexual delirium, he enters into an unknown world of sexual fantasy and lust.
Other detail that must not be missed is the vacant room (chambre libre) that Jan uses when making portraits and expressions of his dreams, capturing the moment of imaginativeness. The room is empty; there is no furniture, only details and a model. Often, the room would have cloudy walls that take one’s mind to the farthest dreams using colorful carpet, skulls, cradles, sex toys, artworks, mirrors and props.
Saudek gives you a peek into his genius mind, and from his life experience brings us controversial beauty through erotica.
Art Provocateur is the premier online gallery of erotic art prints. Browse our erotic art gallery for limited edition and one-of-a-kind artwork. We have the largest selection of erotic and nude art from both established artists and rising stars.
Even during his earliest training as an artist, Mapplethorpe sought his own unique expression. During his time as a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Mapplethorpe built on the cutting-edge approaches of 20th century icons such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns by focusing on mixed media compositions. It was his acquisition of a Polaroid camera in 1970, however, that truly changed his approach completely. At first he saw photographs as a means to produce what he called “more honest” collages, but soon, as his finesse in the medium progressed, Mapplethorpe pursued photography as his main medium.
ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE | Maybelle
Though some of his initial series were commercial commissions, when shooting for himself Mapplethorpe most often focused his lens on the people that surrounded him: friends, fellow artists, and associates from the S&M underground. It was this more covert culture that came to dominate his artistic oeuvre. His aim in his imagery was not to exaggerate the erotic content. On the contrary, he saw his images as chronicling an under-documented aspect of American culture. “I don’t like the word shocking,” Mapplethorpe mentioned in an ARTnews interview in 1988 when discussing his images, “I’m looking for the unexpected.” He showcases this unexpected aspect in the way in which he crops his compositions.
In most frames we are not given an entire figure but rather just one of its tantalizing tidbits. On the one hand, such cropping can be seen as teasing the viewer, leaving him or her to imagine the remainder of the figure. On the other hand, this cropping creates a visual distance, or disconnect, that encourages the viewer not to idolize the model as a sex object but rather celebrate the sensual landscape of the body one frame at a time.
One of Mapplethorpe’s most striking series of nude female photographs was shot in the early 1980s. With his prominence as a photographer secured, Mapplethorpe used World Women’s Bodybuilding Champion Lisa Lyon as his muse. In this series, Mapplethorpe conjured intimate images that on the one hand played with the provocative, but on the other, celebrated the classical components of form and proportion. The result was a compelling compendium of images that showcased both the beauty of the female form and the artful eye of Mapplethorpe himself.
It was shortly after this series that Mapplethorpe’s health began to decline: 1986 brought the revelation that he was suffering from AIDS. He died three years later at the age of 43, and yet his status was already secured as one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century. This status is still secure today, as Mapplethorpe’s images are continuously recognized for their artful beauty.
AC, Chicago (2015)
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Always one to make waves with his art, Picasso made one of the biggest splashes of his career in 1916, with the debut of a large, provocative canvas at a leading modern art exhibition. His colleagues and...
Always one to make waves with his art, Picasso made one of the biggest splashes of his career in 1916, with the debut of a large, provocative canvas at a leading modern art exhibition. His colleagues and critics celebrated the painting as the dawn of Cubism, an innovative painting approach that secured Picasso’s position in the pantheon of artistic greats. While it heralded a new era in artistic ingenuity, it was more importantly also an erotically charged work. Known today as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907, Museum of Modern Art), this composition depicted a brothel scene filled with nudes.
Picasso invoked erotic themes throughout his career, from tasteful nude studies to more sexually explicit vignettes. During the early years of the twentieth century, the erotic played a particularly significant role in Picasso’s exploration of himself. This exploration of eroticism as a means of self-reflection opened new doors for artistic innovation. It gave new intensity to images with sexual implications and revealed their potential to be powerful reflections of one’s own experiences. So, while Picasso is firmly established as a founder of modernity, he can also be credited with creating a new place for eroticism in twentieth-century art.
At the turn of the century, Picasso, barely in his twenties, began experimenting with different approaches to painting. The first half of the first decade of the twentieth century was dominated with his experimentation with color through his Blue Period (1901-1904) and Rose Period (1904-1906). It is during these years that one can sense the initial impact of the erotic in Picasso’s paintings. In 1903, for example, he completed a small oil painting entitled La Douceur (1903; Metropolitan Museum of Art), a boudoir picture that is rendered in the cool blues typical of his Blue Period. It is also a rather suggestive image, both in that Picasso painted a particular sexual act being performed and also that he used his own self portrait to depict the recipient of this sexual favor. He positions himself as somewhat detached from the act that is occurring, instead propping himself up and gazing rather confidently at the viewer. While this posture can be seen as Picasso’s quotation of his art historical heritage (The Metropolitan, for example, draws parallels between this pose and that seen in some compositions by Francisco Goya, one of Picasso’s idols), it also suggests a certain level of bravura and biography on the part of the artist, as he was a rather wanton youth.
The erotic played a significant role in Picasso’s exploration of himself.
Picasso’s shift toward experimentation with composition and form in late 1906 and early 1907 resulted in the development of Cubism, an artistic approach that generally involved the breakdown of figural and material forms in to geometric planes or facets of color. Even while undergoing these more technical innovations, Picasso continued to incorporate erotic references. Indeed, some of these earliest Cubist explorations focus on compositions of women with amorous or erotic connections. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is a prime example, as it reveals five prostitutes supposedly staged in a brothel interior. Their naked bodies are rendered as facets, or planes of color, while their faces dissolve into a certain level of asymmetry or disfigurement. This is most pronounced in the two right-hand figures, whose faces were reworked into emulations of African masks. The grittiness of this masked figure in the foreground is exacerbated by her rather vulgar squatting position as she looks directly out at the viewer.
While Picasso could be examining his own profligate sexuality here, one can also say that this painting reflects Picasso’s own tumultuous relationship with model-turned-lover Fernand Olivier. The two had met and fell in love in 1904, but their liaison was plagued with jealously that resulted in consistent bickering and, eventually, their separation. Picasso’s love for Fernand, and perhaps also his desire to better understand her, is reflected pronouncedly in his early Cubist works, and it seems not coincidental that it was when Picasso and Fernand parted ways in 1907 that he returned to Demoiselles d’Avignon and changed the two women on the right into masked figures. While only Picasso knows exactly why he incorporated these changes, one can suggest that he did so in direct response to Fernand’s departure. Thus, the eroticism of the scene is tempered with Picasso’s personal frustration between sex, love and life.
For more discussion of Picasso’s erotic art, please look to Picasso Érotique, the comprehensive catalogue from the 2001 exhibition organized by the French Réunion des Musées Nationaux that featured over 350 works on an erotic theme from Picasso’s oeuvre.