This portfolio includes images exploring extreme sexual sadomasochism, often on the very edge of pain and violence. As is so often the case, it is women at the receiving end, which raises important issues around power and consent, seen as much more of an important issue now than when Dubigeon created his drawings. We trust our audience to be able to judge for themselves, and to be able to consider carefully whether illustrating the usually-unthinkable is justified by the quality and imagination of the images.
The title of this portfolio, Soumission (Submission) tells us everything we need to know – the subject matter of this posthumous collection of Loïc Dubigeon’s sadomasochistic drawings is the ultimate catalogue of powerplay fantasy. Most of the drawings included had not previously been published, though a few are reproduced from his earlier works.
The volume opens with a preface by American art critic Barbara Evans, which in the French-published book seems to have been translated into French and then back into bad English; we have edited it here so it makes sense:
Loïc Dubigeon is widely regarded as one of the masters of erotic drawing of the second half of the twentieth century.
Having had many opportunities to admire at length both reproductions of his works and originals at exhibitions of his erotic art, I have always been impressed by his unique vision of a universe which is difficult to capture, blending as it does fantasy, dreams and the recreation of improbable reality. The way one perceives Dubigeon’s work is always uncertain, individual and complex.
The drawings depict an undeniable violence, immediately kept in check by a drawing style so precise that photography would be an inadequate substitute, an intercourse of alternating tenderness and icy coldness, a mastery of detail so complete that lace clothing, pleated fabrics and leather are in such a contrast with the silky softness of the skin that one is tempted to reach out and feel them. All these elements create a distancing effect between the artist’s eye, mind and subject that is extremely rare.
His technique draws us closer and deeper into eroticism, delineating it with an extreme desire to create a sensual pleasure that may not be experienced directly, but rather felt through the implosion of imagination. His power is made stronger by the beautiful light that emanates from these drawings, an eroticism that relies on the interaction of black and white, far more dazzling than colour.
Through the works of Loïc Dubigeon, escaping from reality is no longer relevant since reality no longer exists.
Soumission was published in Paris by Creation Art Presse.