Oui Non Editions’ 2023 erotic calendar “deliberately steers away from the straight male point of view,” says its curator Angelique Piliere – and introduces erotic fantasies to our daily routine
For his 2008 photography series Personal Commissions, Brooklyn-based artist Leigh Ledare answered anonymous ads placed in a section of a New York newspaper called ‘Women Seeking Men’. One of these read: “Sexy, beautiful WF, dominant wants a very willing, submissive who understands his place”. Rather than having sex with these women, Ledare gave each a commission fee to photograph him inside her apartment arranged in any fantasy she chose. For WF, that was a naked Ledare kneeling on towels on her bed, hands tied behind his back, wearing a mask attached to a dog lead. The male artist, shot by a woman, becomes the passive, sexualised pin-up.
This image is one of 12 artworks featured in Oui Non Editions’ new erotic calendar, Routine Desire. “The project was first inspired by seeing Ledare’s show last year in Paris,” says Angelique Piliere, the calendar’s curator. A graphic artist and creative director, she founded the independent imprint in 2020. “My interest was to bring a new perspective on classic pin-up calendars and their portrayal of women, so it was deliberate to steer away from the straight male point of view,” she says. “What was interesting to me was to create an unexpected narrative by juxtaposing these works. Erotica has many facets.”
In her 1978 essay Uses of the Erotic, the self-described “Black, lesbian, warrior poet” Audre Lorde defined the erotic as “firmly rooted in power,” as the “assertion of the life-force of women; of creative energy empowered”. It’s this power, and who holds it, that Piliere’s curation so cleverly subverts. Take Aura Rosenberg’s Head Shots (1995), the faces of men that she shot as they orgasm; or Celia Hempton’s Chat Random (2014-present), her paintings of male genitalia found on the website Chatrandom.com; or Hudinilson Jr.’s Self-Seeing Exercise (1980-84), which features photocopied scans of his own gay body in homophobic Brazil.
Yet for Piliere, the calendar is also designed to “bring humour and playfulness to our daily routines.” The month of July, for example, has Heji Shin’s 2016 photograph of a monkey licking a vibrator, a parody of the sexualised #lonelygirl selfie trend. “I think it’s good to be reminded not to take things too seriously,” she says. “We’re all so consumed by our daily lives that we sometimes forget what’s important - like erotica. I like the fact the this calendar is hanging in my kitchen. After all, sex is part of human life as much as eating is.”
The Routine Desire 2023 calendar is available to buy via Oui Non Editions here.