The Bed today flies to Brazil where to welcome and meet an artists who travels from photography to performance: Lírio Valente
Introduce yourself briefly: who’s Lírio Valente?
Would you believe me if I told you that I don’t come from this world, because I remember being born from one no, but several shells in an infinite continuation of previous lives, like huge vulva in colored clouds, cloudy and wet, long before the my supposed birth on Earth?
Lírio Valente is the body of a small woman being surgically dissected from social taboos and her erotic and human condition. Poetic language – in the literal sense of the term – is the dissection table itself where one opens and sees its entrails. The photographic act is the scalpel. As fictional layers, from the possibility of reading the dualist genre to the sexual act, this is the social receiver. Lírio Valente is the staging of all of this.
Since when did you start photography art?
I’ve always been sensitive to the mechanism of photography, since I was very young, I found it interesting in how I could freeze time and space through a movement: the look.
My first contact was when I was 5-7 years old, through my mother’s analog camera.
Professionally, I started studying the technique when I was 15 years old. At that time, I already had a curious skill developed from childhood, I never fit into commercial aesthetics, I was already fascinated by photographing skin and/or body parts. I was looking for it to have an autonomous narrative, in addition to recording a moment.
Did you ever start with photography or have you tried other techniques before?
In fact, photography is one of the tools of my work. I have a degree in Dramatic Arts, and I ended up tangling my career in the performing arts area.
In other words, the technique/language I seek is performance, as it allows me to unite three spheres that interest me: the poem, the self-portrait and the theater.
The work that people follow on the network, in fact, is ⅓ of what is the conception of the final work. The final work is an erotic experience that takes place in a scenic installation that is composed together: a performative action + an exhibition of self-portraits within a scenically constructed space.
The installation is a durational performance that can be from 30 minutes to 4 hours according to the event. The space is free for the movement of people, who are welcomed as passersby.
I’m gonna upload an image of a record of the action.
Are there artists you take inspiration from?
There are artists’ movements that interest me a lot and they certainly cross me and influence my perception of the world. My bedside quartet! ♥
Cindy Sherman is a self-portrait performer who works on women’s social issues in her project.
Anais Nin, one of my biggest references in erotic writing.
Rascunhos de Revolução, my favorite poet who became my life partner. Having the opportunity to live poetry with him is, without a doubt, my inspirational journey.Last and certainly not least: Antonin Artaud.
Why do you choose to portrait yourself?
It wasn’t a choice.
I believe it was and still is an impulse every time I’m taking self-portraits. I will not say that this is fate, gift or any mysticism. Despite being totally in love with the poetic and wonderful dimension that it causes in us. It is important to highlight that everything demands a lot of study and self-knowledge. In addition to the technique of photographic language, the self-portrait demands an urgency to learn to look at one’s own shadow.
Because what will become of photography – whose name says: drawing of light – than not seeing one’s own shadows in this self-portrait aspect?
I think this is even the link between the self-portrait and the erotic theme of my work. It’s the mystery, the shadows, the Lirio’s dissection. It’s what you don’t see in the image that really matters. Do you see that?
How important are the body and the nudity in your work? And why?
It’s funny when people ask me that, because I believe nudity shouldn’t be that important. However, I understand that we live in a world that makes the naked body a great “scandal spectacle.” I believe the importance of nudity is more about that than the work. The process of embarrassment in reception gives us a glimpse of a different path, a new possibility of seeing the body.
I think nudity is more important for this constrained receiver than for someone who analyzes it as a political issue, for example.
Exactly because the naked body of a woman who even dissects her erotic nature and condition is itself a political act. Regardless of this layer of skin. Regardless of what the reading is. She is in her nature all these possibilities of interpretation. It’s up to the receiver to choose what they are going to do with it. The importance is about you, the receiver, both individually and socially.
Eroticism has different ways to pop up in a composition and it seems like you love experimenting a lot. What’s the technique or the composition you loved the most, up to now?
I live for these experiments. So, I’ll have fun and dare saying that my favorite composition is one that I haven’t tried yet. And I’ve never been so sincere when I say something.
You do a lot of motion editing of your photos transforming them into a performance. What about that?
Yes, the end result of all works is a performance. I’m a performer after all, right?
I have a lot of moves, I’ll deal with the last one that’s still happening
“Clouds: Sensitive Content Manifest”.
This movement consists of a video performance lasting 15 seconds, in the metric provided by Instagram and Tik Tok
Throughout this video, a self-portrait is diluted in color until it becomes an abstract frame with a shapeless, colorful cloud appearance.
This performance video series starts in response to my platform @liriovalenteart was deleted for the second time from Instagram and Tik Tok, without giving me a chance to talk about it.
I had two reachable Instagram accounts (100k) and (17k) of contacts and friendships built, two whole days of hard work and deleted research. Yet, they block the “@” that is our social identity, especially for independent artists like me, it’s our portfolio, our life.
The censorship was justified by my content being “sensitive and violent” to the recipient.
When I managed to absorb everything I was going through, I translated Instagram’s attitude by diluting my face, my self-portraits, into a violent attitude of dismantling everything that is my identity, until it became a cloud.
After all, it is in this “cloud” that we save our digital files, right?
The frustration is realizing that my content is sensitive. There was no way to argue with that, because, even after undoing everything, the images were blurry.
What to do now?
I’ll make the cloud image and video available.
Indeed, you struggled a lot with censorship on the main social media like instagram, unfortunately it’s a problem a lot of erotic artists have. What do you think about?
The erotic is still considered a very marginal poetics, especially in Brazil. I believe platform censorship is just a symptom of how we block our humanity and expression.
Now, I have new platforms:
Telegram: O Diário de Lírio Valente, where I literally share my artist’s diary, with inspirations, studies and creative processes.
I also returned to Instagram with a new platform: @liriovalenteart
Do you also produce photo-erotica as a monthly novel, I am right? How did you come up with this idea?
A photo novel was a very famous literary genre in the 70s here in Brazil, but with a theme more focused on romance and melodrama.
The “PENUMBRA MOLHADA” “Wet Gloom” is an erotic photo novel. It has chapters of an erotic story illustrated by self-portraits; it is inspired by this period, trying to rescue in our spectator the habitualness and involvement with a reading.
The project comes, after, the composition of an erotic dramaturgy with my partner, called “Diálogos da Carne”, an erotic performance mounted remotely during the Pandemic period. We released it at Instagram lives.
The success of the text and presentation was great on the networks, so our audience wanted to follow more of the project.
With the idea of publishing this novel, I joined the two interests and creative impulses that were moving me at the time and I invited my partner: – So, let’s do it?”.
I often joke that “Wet Gloom” is an erotic experience that transforms the way we see our own sexuality. This is because the feedback from the public, regardless of whether in Brazil or abroad is always focused on this idea, as one of our readers who prefers to remain anonymous:
“Wet Gloom has changed the way I perceive my body. I’m so grateful to have met you. I can’t stop anymore, I’m always looking forward to the next chapter. Besides, my sex life and dialogue with my husband has changed a lot. Thank you, Lirio.”
The narrative of WET GLOOM is continuous, between a hetero-cis couple, and one that dazzles sexuality in other layers. In each chapter, we work on a different theme ranging from fetishes, tantra, bdsm to the gray palette of asexuality. Because the erotic is not necessarily about the sexual act, but about sexuality.
I believe that our work, both in Diálogos da Carne and in Wet Gloom, has this involvement with the public, precisely because it proposes an experience that is displaced from what is willing, both in society and in the network.
The novel is available by subscription at www.catarse.me/lirioemrascunhos, in Portuguese and English versions, It costs about € 2.
What is the response of the public who follow and support your work? And do you have any future projects incoming?
I’ve had a lot of different feedback about my work. I think this phenomenon is the most incredible experience possible.
Because my work only exists from the encounter with the other, I only exist from the encounter. There are people who meet the images and reveal themselves to their own vulva, to the very condition of the erotic. Regardless of gender. There are others who discover another possibility of perceiving themselves and the world. This is all charming.
Each encounter is unique and precious for me, I am very happy when someone shares with me about the experience of encountering some work.
I never have any plans for the future.
However, I have plans for now.
So, come meet me?