When I initially contacted RubiCANE’s PR people it was more because I was intrigued by the name (Man? Woman? Collective???) and the exquisite although somewhat blush-inducing drawings than anything else. Little did I know this would be my introduction to a whole new world of wheelchair sex, check lists of a travelling dominatrix’s accoutrements for her clients, cis-gender and the rather tragic news that Coco de Mer has been bought up by the high street…
RubiCANE is Ian Bruce’s alter ego which he used in the nigh two years he spent as a self-proclaimed flanêur of the porn world. Usually a full time portrait painter, he chose mainstream porn as a subject out of curiosity and because, as he says, ‘art legitimises perversity’. People will happily look at a drawing of pornographic matter where they’d refuse to look at the same image as a photograph. If you take most mainstream porn, it’s usually a four-part tragedy consisting of verbal abuse, physical abuse, hard fucking and the all-important money shot at the end. For some reason in modern porn the story telling (if you can call it that) generally follows this somewhat narrow formula. Bruce thought it would be interesting to see if it would be possible to aestheticise it through the medium of a pen. Looking through his folio, a series of delicate studies that celebrate and expose all the different tastes and desires that pornography caters for us, I asked him where he found the sitters. It turns out most were freeze-framed from real pornos that he watched on the internet. For instance the papercut Josito’s Will is from a famous Spanish porn star, who is in a wheelchair (he is in his own words crippled from the waist and below) and all his films are called ‘Josito’s Will’, his catch phrase being ‘The sky is the limit if you have the will!’
Although initially not his goal, the resulting works have been turned into a book, SOUVENIR, of which 10% of the sales will be donated to Outsiders, a charity run by Dr. Tuppy Owens that recognise and support the emotional and sexual needs of disabled people. In between the artworks are poems, discourses, short stories, confessions, instructions and even lists from various specialists in ‘pornographic’ subject matter, some of whom he found by relentlessly tweeting them till they responded. These range from people as diverse as Erika Lust, Lorelei Lee, Lucy Kirkwood, Dennis Cooper, Sapphire Steele, Ophelia Bitz, Mik Scarlet and Fiona Haggerty.
SOUVENIR is a limited edition book – the scope of his subject matter and imagination certainly isn’t.
The accompanying show at London’s Society Club launches on the 14th February and runs till the 15th March, 2012. Besides the book, there will be framed drawings and signed posters for sale. SOUVENIR is available to buy from the exhibition and online from www.foxandsquirrel.com
A brief description of SOUVENIR to whet your appetite: Limited edition, signed by Mr RubiCANE, hardback, bound in silk, uncoated paper with text printed onto tracing paper. That description almost sounds like the beginning of a naughty story in itself! A collector’s item for sure…
The Society Club
12 Ingestre Place
All illustrations by kind permission of RubiCANE
Words by Anna Bang
Tagsanna bang, Dennis Cooper, Erika Lust, Fiona Haggerty, Ian Bruce, Lorelei Lee, Lucy Kirkwood, Mik Scarlet, Ophelia Bitz, RubiCANE, Sapphire Steele, The Society Club,