Effective Metaphors As Displayed In Silhouette Eroticism
I came across these seven intriguing decoupage prints depicting erotic scenes (Fig.1 to 3). Research led to the Russian artist/painter Dmitry Losifovich Kiplic (or Kiplik, born 1865) who produced them in the 1910s. Although I've not been able to find any further information about Kiplic, in these prints he cleverly uses the medium and evokes a funny world of intimacies through the postures of the silhouetted figures.
Fig.4. The Kiss (1918) from the series Le Livre de la Marquise (Book of the Marquis) by Konstantin Somov
Fig.5. Le Livre de la Marquise (Book of the Marquis) (1918)
Fig.6. Cutouts laid on canvas Uncle Remus spins a yarn (1994-95) by Kara Walker (1969)
Fascinated by the use of this 'silhouette' technique, I started looking for other artists who also use this method in a sensual context, and two came to the fore. The first one is also a Russian artist, the famous painter Konstantin Somov (1869-1939), who included some 'silhouette' prints in his highly influential Le Livre de la Marquise (Book of the Marquis) from 1918 (see Fig.4 and 5). But as these were the exceptions in this print series (the other designs were in color and not in silhouette), the second artist, named Kara Walker (1969), is in this case more applicable as this contemporary African-American Walker is known for exploring the raw intersection of race, gender, and sexuality mainly through her iconic, silhouetted figures (Fig.6 to 9).
Fig.7. Art by Kara Walker
Fig.8. Art by Kara Walker
For Walker choosing 'the silhouette' form is fundamental She uses it as an effective metaphor for the stereotype and because it can express a lot with very little information. The silhouette also allows the artist to play tricks with the eye.
The exclusive Premium edition of this article is twice as long and offers you more striking examples of silhouette eroticism including Kiplic' s complete set.