What makes art erotic? It’s far too tempting to give you the standard answer for all things art: “I can’t explain it, but I sure can tell it when I see it!”
A clever tagline can sometimes be enough to do the trick, it certainly works for this poster for The Company of Wolves (which, btw, became The Time of the Wolves in German): “More than a fairy tale. Wilder than a dream. The end of your innocence.” That line gives the look on her face a completely different meaning. As the poster artwork for Women’s Prison/Camp movies goes, this one has to be called downright tasteful in its execution. I’d have to be a liar to say that I don’t like it. It’s well drawn, eventhough the artist was no Olivia De Berardinis that’s for sure, if somewhat too much in your face to still count as erotic in my book. And as taglines go, the one used for this borders on being comedic genius: “Here the theatre becomes a torture chamber” I can feel you, I saw No save haven with Wings Hauser, and before the end I was willing to confess anything just to make it stop. A suggestive pose, if there’s anything that embodies the nature of erotic art than it has to be this. And speaking of embodiment, who better to illustrate it than Brigitte Bardot, Europe’s collective dream girl. There’s an unspoken promise to the way she’s posed on the poster to En cas de malheur, and it certainly brings us closest to the answer of our opening question. What makes erotic art, what is it about? It’s not about what is shown, but what we believe to be shown.
We see, erotic tension is created by association. Or would you say that Martin Sheen ever looked remotely as sexy as the virtual Angelina Jolie does on this Beowulf advance?
"When someone doesn't show up, the people who wait sometimes tell stories about what might have happened and come to half believe the desertion, the abduction, the accident. Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don't--and it surprises me, even in myself, how much we prefer ugly scenarios to the pure unknown. Perhaps fantasy is what you fill up maps with rather than saying that they too contain the unknown."— Rebecca Solnit