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(Aug 30th 2018)

Monday, 19 February 2018

Malex in space


I tend to think of Malex as a purveyor of teeth-gritting, snuff imagery but there's plenty of less scary fetish material from him. His Sci-Fi and Space images are particularly interesting. 

This image showing a helpless, naked captive gazing out of a space ship window where a battle seems to be in progress. It's not obvious why he is in this position, a hostage hoping for rescue perhaps. The picture makes him seem highly vulnerable, as indeed he is should a stray blast damage the air tightness of his vessel. The sense of danger is subtly erotic in quite a powerful way. 

Seeing Malex's familiar and rather austere 'black and white' technique applied in a Sci-Fi context brings out it's relationship to the style commonly used in commercial adventure and war comic books. Perhaps Malex also worked in this field.

Notice how the spaceship overhead (if that's the right expression in space) bears a striking resemblance to the Starship Enterprise. Malex often borrows from contemporary movie imagery for these pictures*

(*look out for the laser cutting scene from 'Thunderball', the half-buried Statue of Liberty from 'Planet of the Apes' and the frame whipping scene from 'Starship Troopers')

  

 This picture reworks the same visual idea but the scenario is even more obscure. (Some of these images come from the old Katharsis site so I dare say the there's a reader out there who knows the story line please let me know via 'comments'). Two space crew seem to have been turfed out of their bunks and tied up naked. Once again a (vaguely phallic) spacecraft hovers overhead seeming to pose an ominous threat which the blackness of the sky seems to accentuate. 

It seems to be the 'situation' that interests Malex most here, the two captives in this image seem fairly tokenistic representations of men, lightly built and relatively ordinary looking, you don't get a strong idea of their personalities or emotions in this situation, even their erotic state seems ambiguous. It seems that it's their nudity, vulnerability and captivity that is important.


It this image the unspoken threat is realised but not fully resolved as the captive is carted off by heavily-armed, robotic dinosaurs to face some further unknown fate. The method of transport invokes the representations of primitive natives in 20th century exploration/jungle stories, Tarzan being a regular 'customer' of the technique in that genre. The captive's suspension is reversed by Malex to make a more erotic display of him and incidentally give him a much more exacting ride to his destination. Whilst the captors here seem to be impersonal, clumsy automatons, the phallic log from which he is suspended hints at more organic tests ahead.


In this picture, the naked captive is not tethered to anything but is completely immobilised and unable to move. Tightly bound and hooded he's placed in a kneeling position that immediately suggests a sacrifice or execution. Surrounded by a bleak wilderness, his body is covered in perspiration indicative of his fearful anticipation. 

One threat to him appears to be from below, underground where a strange alien creature can be glimpsed possibly able to burst out of the ground and and consume the hapless spaceman. Materialising imaginary creatures is a risky business in terms of credibility (as the images below and tentacle art generally illustrates). The partial cropping here helps perpetuate the sense of an ill-defined menace

The starbursts in the background may be meteors, raising the possibilty that this man's fate is to endure a meteor shower out in the open and exposed while his captors hide safely underground. A sort of extra-terrestrial stoning.

 

 In this picture the castaway astronaut is being spread out and tied down in a similarly bare landscape by a fearsome-looking, horned, spider-like creature. We finally get a decent glimpse of the victim's face. He looks up in awe at a plant-like entity which looms over him with fluid dripping ominously from it's tendrils. Notice how the shadow of the plant seems to suggest a threat to the young man's neck. 

The background geology here is quite intriguing. What we initially take to be weird rock formations bear a striking resemblance to crashing waves and the more you look at it the more it looks like sea. Perhaps it's a petrified sea.


This unfortunate traveller faces a threat of a different sort, that of medical experimentation by curious humanoid aliens. In all of these images it seems these inhospitable distant planets have a perfectly breathable air for humans but not apparently for these creatures who are suited up as full blown astronauts rather than medical technicians. 

The human's face is covered by what looks like a tentacled creature inspired by the movie, 'Alien'. It's tail is wrapped round the guinea pig's neck making a none-too-subtle suggestion of suffocation or some other deeply invasive coupling. I use the word coupling deliberately, because at this point the captive seems to be quite excited by the experience. Of course that doesn't mean he is going to survive it. The unpleasant threat posed by this creature may explain the protective suiting worn by the observers and it may be that these are humans too, with a warped sense of scientific curiosity. 

It's interesting to compare the tentacled creature here to the ones that took Harry Chess and Mickey prisoner in my Ajay article (Part 3). Humour aside, these images are exploring similar ideas of being totally taken over, engulfed by a more powerful being, one not constrained by normal human rules.
.

This scenario too would be worthy of a Harry Chess tale for it's sheer outlandish complexity. The image of a terrified, tied up man dangerously balanced above a pit containing a tentacled creature is fair enough. Quite why the caterpillar-like captor is using this contrived method of 'delivery' requiring considerable dexterity to set up and quite how it managed to capture and tie up the human in the first place is baffling. That said, the danger ingredients here are quite compelling. It seems unlikely that the creature in the pit is planning to tickle it's captive and the caterpillar 'feeder' is suitably powerful and repellent. It's another example of inter-species collaboration like the spider and plant above. Malex's drawing of the captive is one of his more realistic and physically attractive human creations.

At one time, these bleak landscapes were standard sci-fi territory but I think Malex's folio is unique in terms of fetish art. Modern artists, helped by the power of computers, seem to have moved on to more fantastical worlds and creatures in lusher settings more akin to earth.

Malex's spacemen all appear totally naked, ramping up the hostile threat of alien worlds and airless space. He doesn't appear to have explored the erotic power of tight-fitting spacesuits which have always interested me. I have published two astronaut pictures here 'Astronaut by Mitchell
and 'Space Cadet Chastised' by Mitchell

I don't think there's any decent repository for the work of Malex, 
visit my original A-Z article on Malex for search advice and more about the artist's other work.

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