Buckle up, kids, it’s about to get weird. RubiCANE is the newest project from painter and singer (and one half of the Correspondents) Ian Bruce. It’s an artistic and poetic exploration of the sexual, with the self-professed aim of exposing the “different tastes and desires that pornography caters for”. We sat down with Ian and got our hands on SOUVENIR, the limited edition book around which the project revolves, and which is the focus of a new exhibition at The Society Club in Soho. Be warned – what follows is not for prudish eyes.
The book itself consists of Bruce’s own work – artistic representations of sexual acts, male and female genitalia and everything in between – interchanged with contributions by various players within the world of art and pornography – disabled ex-broadcaster Mik Scarlet, novelist Dennis Cooper, and genderqueer pornstar Jizz Lee to name but a few. A particular highlight, for example, was the inclusion of a short play by Charlotte Jarvis detailing the application of philosophical theories such as determinism, nihilism and the works of Kant to the stereotypical exchanges to be found at the start of pornographic movies. Elsewhere, one can find everything else from poems to short stories to a list of the effects of a dominatrix.
Of course, the book isn’t for the easily shocked, and even I (despite knowing what was coming) found myself somewhat taken aback at the sheer normality with which these socially abnormal subjects are approached. And it’s the breaking of taboos that is one of the key parts of this project – Bruce himself explains, “half a billion people in the world at any one time are watching porn – most people do, but we don’t talk about it. It’s never discussed overtly, and I really believe that it should be because it’s having a massive effect on society whether we like it or not. I feel that sexual repression is a very dangerous force, and if more people talk about sex in any capacity, that’s a good thing.” He goes on, “we live in a very sexual repressed age, which is ironic considering that we’re bombarded with sexual imagery – especially in this country.”
The project is one of many currently underway for Bruce – along with his other artistic projects and his work with The Correspondents – but is nonetheless one which has a bright future. “I’d like to start doing paintings based on some of the themes that have really interested me. There are certain elements of fetish that I’d like to incorporate into larger scale paintings – maybe not quite so overtly referencing porn. In a way, it’s almost like a never-ending project. It’d be nice to expand the book to not just twenty writers, but a hundred writers and three hundred drawings and create a massive tome – a sort of Porn Bible.”
So if you’re looking to break a bit of sexual repression, check out the exhibition at The Society Club from 15th February – 15th March. 150 limited edition copies of the book itself will be available to buy online here, or take a look at some of the images from the book in our gallery below.
For more information, head to www.rubicane.com