Throughout history, many have tried to find the origins of sexual desire. However, they give up the moment they realize desire and its implications are shrouded by secrets. There's no categorical definition that can fully explain this feeling, since each person has a very particular way of perceiving pleasure.
Let's say that the Marquis de Sade's success wasn't due to his boldness to talk about topics that were forbidden during the late Eighteenth Century; his success lies in his portrayal of people's darkest and kinkiest thoughts. Reading de Sade is a way to free our inner tension by knowing that someone else at some point of history has thought the same thing; thus, we feel human again.
In fact, any form of artistic expression can portray those dark thoughts inhabiting our unconscious mind. This becomes a simple exercise in which the artist reflects on himself or anyone else to reach the abyss that's formed between desire and art.
There's a large number of artists who have made it their live's work to explore the limits of desire. Nevertheless, if I had to point just one name out, it would have to be Plácido Merino, a contemporary Mexican artist who, through impressionistic techniques, is capable of depicting people's darkest fantasies.
"I think that my artistic technique has the ability to materialize shadows, to free the deepest, most profound secrets produced by traumas and conscious or unconscious desires, all of the inner problems of secret desires."
Through the deconstruction of the body, he manages to portray the general idea that people never show themselves as they are. Beyond nudity, there's plenty of things to discover inside us, which are hard to reach for anyone who's trying to figure us out.
By allowing the paint drip down the canvas, he blurs the faces, as if they were hiding something that can't be discovered. Far from depicting desire from a physical perspective, Merino approach is on a more emotional level. A far cry from the other artists who try to interpret the body just for body's sake.
If I had to interpret Merino's work as a whole, I'd say he doesn't pack your sight with explicit images of the flesh, an obvious element that attracts the sight of the curious. Instead, Merino creates a dialogue between the work and the spectator, so that the latter can decipher the true meaning of the painting and the desires hidden in it.
If you are interested in how desire is represented in art, take a look at these articles:
Illustrations That Awaken Your Darkest Desires,
Plácido Merino's Official Website
Plácido Merino's Facebook
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards