On Show: Eric Lanuit, “Uniforms and Fantasies”

Johann recently caught up with photographer and publisher, Eric Lanuit to discuss his latest exhibition…

Johann d’Nale: How did the subject matter for the exhibition come about?

'Kamer' by Eric Lanuit. All Rights reserved, 2016.
‘Kamer’ by Eric Lanuit. All Rights reserved, 2016.

Eric Lanuit: Uniforms have always been the subject of fantasies. Authority, power, heroism, strength, the aesthetics of the clothing and accessories, the enhancement of the male body – all these mixed feelings at the sight of a man in uniform awaken our imagination and strata of our homoerotic cultural unconscious.

Just a detail can arouse our excitement and desire. The uniform, yes, but also work clothes, regulation outfits, sportswear, fetishist outfits –the clothes and accessories excite libidos and the imagination though the promise of masculine sex. Sending signals of the overflow of testosterone, hot games of domination and submission and of exhibitionism and worship.

All these portraits are looking to the horizon of their goal. So proud of their outfit that enables them to do their job, their duty, their performance. So proud of their body that endorses the outfit or accessories of what they represent and so proud of the looks they generate from the attributes of their virility.

From athlete to soldier, worker to businessman, master to slave and from cowboy to sailor, they all proudly display the artifices of their conviction, their profession, their passion, or their sexual practice, arousing the desire of the unattainable beauty of the idealised male.

How did the preparation go – and what reaction have you had to the works?

'Gabin' by Eric Lanuit. All Rights reserved, 2016.
‘Mehdi’ by Eric Lanuit. All Rights reserved, 2016.

I was very happy with the prints – they are amazingly beautiful. I have chosen a smooth and very thick fine art paper that really gives the painting portrait effect that I wanted.
Regarding the hanging itself, this was not so easy because I chose to show three sizes (50x70cm, 40x50cm and 30x40cm) and of course there is some stronger portraits that I wanted to push. My friend José Texeira from P-ARTY helped me and we found what I hope is the best combination in the location.

I only received good reactions on the opening day, but maybe people don’t tell you when they don’t like it (LOL). What I can say is that people seem to understand my point of view on the subject and the fact I handle it in a very classical photography portrait way – which is not usually the case for uniform and other fetish topics.

What is coming next for you?

I’m looking for galleries or places to show the ‘Uniforms and Fantasies’ series in Europe and in United States. I’m also working on a special issue of my gay art magazine Men Addicted that should be online beginning of November and will be participating in the collective exhibition HOLE curated by P-ARTY in Paris that will take place at KRASH and LA MINE from November 3rd to December 4th.

Thanks for sharing those words and images with us, Eric and the best luck with your future endeavours! 

For more information about Eric, please visit his website or Facebook page.

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On ‘Hate’

Hate – it’s a word I use every single day.

I use it to describe my relationship with technology, when I’m impatient with the speed of my laptop. Or to express my feelings about an unsweetened cup of coffee someone has dared to give me.

As a 4-letter word, it’s useful. It’s also lazy.

We talk about hate crimes; acts of violence and savagery that leave us shaking our heads and questioning the state of the world we live in.

Hate. In every day conversation, I compare slow broadband speed to people being gunned-down in a nightclub because of who they love. It’s an imperfect word. I use it in connection with my distaste or mild inconvenience. That feels wrong somehow. But the problem with language sometimes is it can feel hollow and inadequate. Especially when we are expressing something that it is almost impossible to comprehend.

For every atrocity, we have a list of words we reach for to talk about them. Words like;

  • Shocked
  • Tragedy
  • Saddened
  • Grief
  • Outrage
  • Condolences
  • Sympathy

It feels like, in our current world, we call on this vocabulary with depressing regularity.

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This year in the U.K. since the result of the EU referendum, there has been a sharp increase in reported hate crime. Not hugely surprising given the language of intolerance and bigotry that was the backbone of the ‘Leave’ campaign. In effect hate speech has gone mainstream.

I have no idea what happens next. We have reached a point where, if what the mass media reports is to be believed, talking about tolerance and embracing diversity is once again a minority point of view.

The public conversation has moved quickly to one that has ceased to discuss people of different cultures, religion and sexuality with respect. It has been replaced with language that is cruel and ugly.

But though it sometimes feels futile, those of us who believe in some as important as the basic human right to dignity for all people, have to keep talking. Hell, we have to keep shouting. Words do matter.

Because when we feel our voices are silenced and we are too afraid to speak is when the world we are part of will be in far more trouble than it already is.

This article is in response to the current open call for #FuckHate. Submissions close on 31st October – after which a zine / digital publication (with profits going to the NoH8 campaign) will be produced. More here.