Cutting through the cliches, Féros explores erotica through art, illustration and poetry
There’s no shortage of sex-centric self-publishers. With the rise of magazines like ADULT, Ladybeard and Pornceptual, it feels like our carnal obsessions are everywhere: plastered across countless beautifully designed and provocatively shot pages. For this reason, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we weren’t really in need of an extra addition. How many pairs of tits do you really need to see, anyway? And don’t penises just all look the same after a while?
For new magazine Féros, though, sex takes on another form. The French publication is more concerned with exploring erotica and fetishism through art, illustration and poetry – making it more about how we view the act from a creative perspective. “This is a contemporary art magazine,” stresses Editor-in-Chief Clément Gagliano. “But we also include fetishistic inserts, which people can take home and use privately. They can make up their own mind about the pieces of art depicted inside.”
Gagliano claims that he (and co-creator Florence Andoka) created Féros as a protest. Frustrated by the rise of “vulgar”, “extravagant” and “cliched” conversations surrounding sexuality, the two publishers crafted their own reply – cutting down on dialogue, and letting the art speak for itself. “People talk about everything, including sex, without really thinking about it, and without having anything to say,” Gagliano explains. “The worst thing is that nobody truly cares. You just need to dig a little deeper to realise that what happens in public usually prevents people from being open in private. Because nothing is left to give. When you wear your insides as a jacket, what is left in? Not much, I'd say.”
“When you wear your insides as a jacket, what is left in? Not much, I'd say” – Clément Gagliano
“With Féros, it’s more to do with restraint,” he continues. “Where is the fun when everything you see suffers from morbid banality? Nothing’s forbidden. I think we all are frustrated somehow, and we all need to deal with it. I think pornography may seem fashionable today, and that tomorrow it will just be thrown away.”
Gagliano adds that his main worry is that overexposure to sex will destroy the “whole mythology” of it. “Showing pornography repeatedly turns what is considered as subversive into something foolish, with no mystery left, no forbidden fruit attraction,” he says. “Suddenly sex is something everyone does and that holds no meaning any longer – but no clues are given to help people their own truth about their own sexuality, or their own desires.”
That’s why, with Féros, the spotlight remains strictly on the artists. Whether they’re pushing soft, surreal illustrations, or brutal, ballsy portraiture, the overall brief remains the same. Show how you, as an individual, see sexuality – and don’t be afraid to maintain the mystery. “We all have big issues here,” Gagliano adds. “The whole idea of Féros is to reflect these urges – the psychosis and neurosis that we all may encounter in our lives.”
The artists featured in Féros #1 include: Paul Kooiker, Cendres Lavy, Ash Conrad, Lise Stoufflet, Hannibal Volkoff, Cath Orain, Jean-Luc Verna, Catherine Robbe-Grillet, Luce de Tetis, Julien Salaud, Clara Citron, Mirka Lugosi, Julian Feeld, Apollonia Saintclair, Amanda Wieczorek.