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CINEMA IN EXTREMIS: Erotic Artists INSIDE FLESH Blur the Line Between Sex and Horror [NSFW]

Welcome back, brave readers… this week, I’m going to be testing your tolerance in a slightly different way by daring to enter the endless, often hostile debate over the vague and ever-changing definitions of art and obscenity.

I’m not going to recap the history of that argument; you can easily look up the works of legendary artists Robert Mapplethorpe or Andres Serrano to find key points in the history of controversial artistic expression, and continue from there. Instead, I’ll briefly state my own view on the subject before launching into today’s topic.

Some say art is in the eye of the beholder, and I mostly agree with that; but more specifically, I consider those “beholders” to be the artists themselves. In other words, a true work of art is a form of communication, a link between the minds of two people — the creator of that work, and the person who sees, hears or reads it. Everyone’s perception is unique, so this link is never the same twice… and that’s the most amazing thing about it.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to today’s focus — the notorious and highly controversial artistic duo known as Inside Flesh.

[WARNING: In case you missed the NSFW tag in the headline, I’ll remind you that the videos below contain explicit nudity and are not only unsafe for the workplace, but unsuitable for viewers under 18.]

Dedicated to “human carnality in all its aspects,” Inside Flesh (IF) was founded ten years ago by Polish husband-wife team Piotr Wegrzynski (also known as BFV) and Sylvia Lajbig, whose art collective SUKA OFF initially presented their work in fringe theatre and underground clubs, but found even those venues to be too limiting to their true intentions.

“It was only a matter of time that we would make our way into pornography,” the artists concluded — and it was here that IF unleashed their boldest and most shocking work.

The duo’s award-winning 2008 short film CARNAL FLUIDITY is now considered an alt-porn masterpiece, and its positive reception in the art world led to multiple collaborations with photographers, performance artists, musicians, filmmakers and fashion designers.

Most notably, several IF videos were incorporated into shows for acclaimed designers like Nicola Formachetti and Leonard Wong:

Additional IF multimedia projects include the 2012 short film collection POSSESSIONS, and a follow-up to CARNAL FLUIDITY entitled RED NOISE.

The Inside Flesh manifesto is fairly simple, asserting that their art is an “act of resistance against current guidelines in regarding gender, sexuality and genre biases,” which they consider outdated and pointless.

Their own guidelines, laid out in a ten-point manifesto, state that “The body has no value outside of the picture… The body is part of the picture, the picture is part of the cinema.”

In other words, the explicit sexual acts which take place in front of IF’s cameras are not the artwork itself; their real intent is expressed through the surreal and creepy sets and props, abandoned locations, alt-fashion costuming, makeup and visual effects, combined with elaborate experimental music and sound design.

Here’s an example of how these elements come together, in their music video UNCTO (“Unctuous”). Here’s a (slightly) censored version:

Obviously, I can’t show you their most graphic material here, and their official site requires membership to access their uncut videos and photo gallery. However, they have released a provocative promotional reel, which you can view below… provided you understand, once again, it’s about as unsafe for work as anything you’ll ever see on these pages.

With that warning on record, proceed at your own risk…

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