David Delamare,
Animerotics: A Forbidden
Cabaret in 26 Acts

(Collectors Press, 2001)

This book is cool. It might be argued by some that it's also porn, but whatever. I think it's art, though extremely sensual.

David Delamare has created that most desirable sort of painting, one in which the emotion of an event is captured and held for the viewer's delight, and he did this twenty-six times. There is one painting per letter of the alphabet, each distinct from the others, but with certain common themes. There is always a woman, an animal and a stage, the premise being that the paintings were originally used as ads for an unusual cabaret show.

There is definitely an atmosphere of fantasy in the paintings, from the sepia-tones to the unusual, animal-printed stockings that seem to be a part of the model's anatomies. Supposedly created at the turn of the century, the settings seem authentic, tempting the reader to believe the contrived story of their origins.

The only detraction from the work is the silly preface by journalist and art publisher Wendy Ice, detailing the phony history of Alphonse Zukor, an imaginary character and creator of the Animerotic Cabaret on which the paintings are based. Not only is explanation unnecessary, it seems forced, and it comes out sounding more like an excuse for the work to exist. And the story's just dumb.

But back to the paintings. Each one is really lovely, balancing sensuality and showmanship. There's a fleshy realness to the women and animals represented, while the backgrounds are almost cartoonish in their simplicity. The real and the fantasy play off each other to create a compelling effect. Though I've flipped through repeatedly, even during this writing, I'm unable still to decide on my favorite one.

Unquestionably, this is erotica, but it's more the sort you'd leave out on the coffeetable to show how sophisticatedly blasˇ you are about it all.

[ by Katie Knapp ]
Rambles: 6 April 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.