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A Naked Alphabet: The Human Body as Typography (NSFW)

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To paraphrase L. P. Hartley: The 1970s is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

The sexual liberation that favored metropolitan areas in the 1960s spread across country during the seventies. Suddenly—or so it seemed—everybody was enjoying the “zipless fuck.” There were guide books offering useful tips on how to have a better sex life. Married couples were swinging. Nudity was celebrated. Porn was ubiquitous. Orgasms compulsory. Yet, it was still very much the male heterosexual eye that influenced everything.

In 1971, a small group of Dutch artists, photographers and graphic designers—Ed van der Elsken, Anna Beeke, Pieter Brattinga, Anthony Beeke, and Geert Kooiman captured this (newish) sexual freedom with a naked human alphabet—published in Avant Garde Magazine No.14: Belles Lettres. The letters were created using naked women—who lay, curled and bent into the appropriate shapes.

But this wasn’t just mere titillation—this artful display of female nudity was a protest “against the supposedly ‘dehumanising’ and thoroughly ‘indecipherable’ mechanistic alphabets.”

The typeface (in case you’re wondering) for these photographs is said to be Baskerville Old Face.
 
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More barenaked letters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.22.2016
10:38 am
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Your new favorite 19th-century naughty erotic typeface (NSFW)
01.04.2016
11:40 am
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I couldn’t find much about 19th century German artist Heinrich Lossow’s “smutty” alaphabet. In fact, I could only find one single online source that had all of Lossow’s dirty typeface together on one page. Perhaps there’s a reason why: these illustrations are also credited to a French artist namedJoseph Apoux. According to Apoux’s brief Wikipedia page, the series is called Erotic Alphabet and date back to 1880.

Heinrich Lossow (1843-1897) was known for his Rococo-style paintings and pushing the envelope when it came to inserting pornographic details into his paintings. The most notable one being The Sin, circa 1880. French artist Joseph Apoux had the same reputation as Lossow.

In the end, I’m going with Joseph Apoux as the one responsible. There’s slightly more information pointing towards him concerning these naughty letters.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.04.2016
11:40 am
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