Helena Calmfors "Denial I"
Helena Calmfors "Denial I" 2021
Photography, instax film, framed
Dimensions 2.4 x 2.4in
Signed on Verso, Includes a certificate of authenticity
Helena Calmfors is a Queer artist, performer, and BDSM professional based in Brooklyn. Originally from Sweden, she has worked and performed in New York since 2014. The act of creating intimate scenes and experiences is present in all aspects of her work, which ranges from watercolor paintings and digital work to performance and photography. Calmfors’ work is centered around taking control of the male gaze through the practice of femdom. She addresses the reclamation of ownership of identity and the body through the hierarchical power play that is present in BDSM, and her performances explore female domination through BDSM rituals. Calmfors uses instant photography to represent the ephemerality of performance rituals and the intimacy of the dominant/submissive relationship. Using fluid strokes of watercolor and ink in her paintings, she illuminates the stark contrast between the rigid structure of BDSM and the beauty of ultimate trust in the depicted scenes.
“As a Queer femme woman with a background in BDSM sex work, my very existence, reflected in my work, is a rebellious act. My work explores the concept of profiting off of my own objectification and the ways in which this allows me to take control of the male gaze. With the increasing censorship of sex workers and erotic creators on social media and financial platforms, as well as homophobic political trends, it is becoming more important than ever to challenge the heteronormative and sex work-exclusionary status quo.”