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Message updated 25th June 2023

Thursday 18 February 2010

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Les

Les Farnak's pictures are quite well known and show captive men being humiliated and sadistically tortured. The pictures are highly atmospheric and even when the scene depicted is an encounter between leather men there is a sense that something mysterious and unpleasant is going on.

Les - Lick My Boots

In his most striking scenes the captors are the military or police and they are depicted in a way that might be comic in other circumstances but here it dehumanises them and you feel they might be capable of anything. You can tell boot licking is just a starter, as the prisoner is still wearing his jeans. The frightened captive's plaintive expression tells us he feels the same threat.

Les - Police Brutality

The brutality towards the struggling victim who is being overpowered ready for torture or service to his captors is depicted in an uncompromising way,. There is a tremendous dramatic tension in this picture, the impressive solidity of the guards contrasts with the lightly sketched naked figure of the terrified prisoner and creates a real sense of domination and forced submission.

Les - Inquisition Dungeon

Les produced a series of pictures showing men clad in armour with Norse-like or Teutonic winged helmets presiding over a dungeon of horrors. Their strange garb is extremely unsettling and creates a sense of evil and dread. The picture shown here has a similar 'Inquisition' theme. This is one of my favourites, the naked prisoner is forced down winding steps and is about to see what his captors plan to do to him. The prisoner is no wimp but he is dwarfed by his escort whose strange hood radiates menace.

I find the nudity of the prisoner in this picture quite riveting, the hints of muscle tone and fuzzy hair in the shading are almost indistinguishable from each other and create an almost impressionistic idea of masculine beauty. (Contrast this with Cavello's use of light and dark which is quite brutal in comparison). In Les' picture, the central area of light draws the eye in towards the prisoner and his stance deflects you onwards into the dungeon scene below. It is a very clever composition and Les did a few other variations on it but I think this is the best.

Les makes great use of clothing and nudity to convey power and vulnerability but, in a way, the nudity is not erotic in itself. In the Inquisition picture you hardly notice the guard's organ at first and it doesn't add greatly to the power of the picture. Likewise in the police brutality picture the prisoner's face is the only part of him shown in detail, almost as if Les is not particularly interested in the sensuality of the naked body.

Les - Punished with the crop
He is interested in faces, however. The victims show pain, confusion, pleading. The captor's expressions are often hidden by helmets, dark glasses etc but when their faces are revealed they have mean, narrowed, frowning eyes and the pointed moustaches all conveying an air of cold menace and cruelty. In some pictures, exaggerated jutting chins and thick bull necks add raw power to the mix. Beyond these characteristics the faces are relatively featureless and hence expressionless, only the lightest of shading defines the basic shape and major features and this in itself makes them seem quite alien. No wonder the naked victims tremble in fear and confusion!

Les has his own distinctive style where shading is accomplished by cross-hatching of varying densities. His depiction of muscle shapes is very understated and outlines are often not hard either so there is a softness and granularity about the best pictures. The poor reproduction quality of much of his generally available work exaggerates this and makes the picture murky and indistinct but perversely it adds atmosphere too.

Les's work explores the darker realms of S&M in a most imaginative way and deserves a prominent place in my hall of fame.

I can't ID a working link for this artist but a search of GMBA (see sidebar) should turn up more examples. I'd welcome up to date link info from readers of this blog

Update June 2010 - there's a new article at Frglee with more pics and bio.

For other articles in this series click on the A-Z label below.


Stany said...

L'inquisizione rappresenta, nell'arte s/m, un top eccitantissimo. La scena della tortura è sempre la stessa (ma ogni volta sempre eccitante). In essa è rappresentato un prigioniero (come di prammatica) nudo e scalzo, con evidenti frustate sul corpo,legato o appeso a testa in giù, in una oscura dungeon dalle pareti scrostate, dove pendono dal soffitto corde, catene e carrucole, e dove, qua e là, sono sparsi vari e fantasiosi strumenti di tortura, mentre la bocca distorta di un ufficiale sembra che dia l'ordine di in continuare la punizione. Evviva!

Mitchell said...

Roughly Translated:-
The inquisition represents, in the art s/m, a top excited. The scene of torture is always the same (but every time always exciting).It represents a prisoner (in a pragmatic way) naked and barefoot, with obvious lashes on the body,chained or hung head down, in a dark dungeon whose walls are starting to peel, where hang from the ceiling ropes, chains and pulleys, and where, here and there, are scattered varied and imaginative instruments of torture, while a perverse mouth of aa official seems to give the order to continue in the punishment. Huzzah.