I always love stumbling across unusual erotic art, and Manuel Laval‘s work does not disappoint. Fantastically surreal, his photography blurs the lines between dreams and reality, sex, nudity and eroticism in a style reminiscent of our most loved Surrealist artists but in a world completely of his own. Laval is determined to present genitalia and sexuality in a positive way that goes against mainstream pornography.
He wants to encourage his viewers to revel in voyeurism because to him, it is a healthy expression of sexuality. Laval’s ethics align him perfectly with our XConfessions series and he has illustrated many of our anonymously submitted sex confessions!
Read the interview with him below and explore some of the weirdest and most wonderful erotic photographs!
➢ You describe yourself as an artist whose work seeks to improve our society and liberate eroticism. Is this what originally drew you to photography?
It always bothered me, that nudity and eroticism in culture, television or movies were regulated in a weird way: No erect penis, no vaginas. In a cultural context openness does not deliver what is promises. Essential things are missing, while commercial pornography is in the foreground – it’s not possible to get a positive and natural feeling towards eroticism and the body.
I think that even our relationships are affected because of this. That’s the reason why I appreciate people like Erika Lust, who are also trying to unite culture, feminism, arousal, and good taste.
The regulations are also suppressing my art. I have more than 10.000 followers on Tumblr and more than 400.000 blog visitors during the last three years, but I can’t advertise on my page because of the erotic content. I do not support trash porn advertisement, thus I have no financial advantage. Even galeries and show rooms have a fear of contact.
“Observing things is a sort of arousal”
➢ Your goal is to help eroticism find its proper place in the cultural context. How do people react to your art, that is so honest and direct?
Consistently positive (apart from some ultra conservatives and schoolmasters). Sometimes people react shocked, but that’s more because of the surrealistic elements in my art. Open art also disturbs the art lovers. Both effects are more or less desirable – the people start to discuss and think!
➢ Do nudity and eroticism have a direct connection for you?
Yes! Nudity is unexceptional and should be something normal and natural. It’s a lie to say that we already adopted this kind of awareness.
➢ From an artistic and sexual view: What is your source of inspiration?
Above all surrealism and dadaism are my biggest sources of inspiration (especially Max Ernst, Man Ray and Magritte) while I also keep my eyes open for other stuff: contemporary art, from Fluxus to kitsch and advertising aesthetics.
Observing things is a kind of arousal. I do not appreciate sexuality and violence together which is why I don’t use this connection in my pictures.
➢ Can you show us a photograph that you personally identify with?
➢ Did you ever find a good visual representation of an orgasm? If so, can you share it with us?
XConfessions illustrated by Manuel Laval: