Dark eroticism, provocative kink and twisted libidos abound in Marc Blackie’s photography and filmmaking.
The work of London based Marc Blackie has been described as “David Lynch with a Hard-on”, a cute soundbite perhaps, but not a particularly apt description. While his short films and the majority of his photographic work are presented in an often oppressive black and white that could possibly bring to mind some of Lynch’s key works, his imagery is better served with a comparison to the sexually charged playfulness of Araki mixed with a cloying dose of austere Bergmanese introspection.
The self-trained photographer and filmmaker has been producing his distinctive high contrast monochrome images under the moniker of Disappointed Virginity (an oblique reference to postmodernist Michel Foucault) for twenty odd years now and began making short films around 2010, due to what he describes as a disaffection with photography and the desire to build upon the narrative elements that had begun to emerge in his work.
Described as “jarringly combining eroticism with the uncomfortable and sinister” by the New York Magazine, the images often present highly eroticised moments through a filter of palpable discomfort, as though a ketamine comedown has descended upon a Japanese porn set and everyone is left thinking about just what it is they have done.
Other works can be more whimsical, yet retain an air of discomfort and as Blackie himself states he is never happier than when “poking fun at the ridiculous of the human libido and what passes for our collective sexual imagination”.
“Some of the films will come from a desire to present (and often ridicule) a sexual act that I am personally attracted to and then corrupt it, confront it and turn it on its head.”
Blackie, Fluffer Magazine.
This disparity has led to praise for his ironic critique of pornography and he has become regarded as an influential figure in the art-porn movement. But his output has also drawn ire from those who regard his work as misogynistic and deeply offensive, leading to film screening and Q&A events being shut down by the UK Council and even objections from staff in the galleries where his work has been shown. he’s also been banned by Facebook and Instagram, where even self-censored images were deemed to be beyond the pale.
Having now produced over twenty short films, ranging from the more rough and ready early works (he has described his first film, A Special Form of Denial, as a twelve-minute sizzle reel of his photographic work up to that time, a series of vignettes with over a dozen performers filmed during the space of a year and then edited together into what Fleshbot described as a “squirm-inducing fever dream”) to the more precisely
constructed Fucking Doesn’t Help and The Wet Nurse and Her Diabolical Concerns, complete with darkly ironic dialogue delivered in French and Icelandic respectively, he continues to work somewhere between the borders of irreverent existentialism and the uncomfortably arousing.
“It may be apparent at this stage that for a mythos based on the erotic, my work is not particularly sex-positive. This sounds like a contradiction, but that’s fine. I enjoy being awkward.”
Blackie, T-Squirt Magazine.
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