In conversation

Natalie Krim

We are delighted to count Natalie Krim
as a friend of the gallery.

She is also one of the Juror along Stefania Biliato and Diana Widmaier Picasso of the Eros Project.

We asked her what her vision of EROS was.

Natalie Krim is a Los Angeles based artist exploring the complexities of intimacy, women’s issues and political injustices through her surreal and autobiographical drawings. Krim’s amorous pieces illustrate moments in time, a voyeur into her past and the present. Each individual drawing opens a window into the complex, intimate, and sensuous journey of the artist, and embodies a defiant declaration of the free and fervid feminine spirit. @nataliejhane

Natalie Krim, Various, 2018

Natalie Krim, Dream 2020

The Curators: What would be, instinctively, the three artistic references that come to mind?

Natalie Krim: When I first think of EROS I think of the story “Eros and Psyche” from Metamorphoses. The neoclassical sculpture inspired by this story, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, is one of my most appreciated pieces of artwork. Over the last year or so I’ve been researching sculpture art. The skill it takes to produce such a gentleness using such a strong material, like marble, to show the intimacy between love and the soul, is inspiring.  

Antonio Canova, Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, 1777

The C. : What would be your definition of Eros?

Natalie Krim : An exploration of the light and dark.

The C. : Is there a book, a film, or a music dealing with Eros that made a particular impression on you?

Natalie Krim : When I started studying erotic art and film I looked for movies that featured women’s curiosites, like The Libertine from 1968. The main character lives out her sexual fantasies after her husband’s death and the whole thing is filmed like a 60’s-centric Italian visual thirst trap. I loved it.  During that time, when I was trying to understand the power dynamics of sexuality, I wanted to read and watch everything that was extreme and compare that with softer, more submissive themes.

I loved authors like Georges Bataille and Anais Nin and wanted to be like Alicia Silverstone in the Aerosmith videos. I loved John Willie’s fetish drawings because I liked how tight my own latex stockings felt and could see myself in his works. I’ve consumed so much erotic imagery over the years that the excitement of being impressed by something new has faded a bit; although, I think my love for extremes is still something I seek and am naturally drawn to.

John Willie, Miscellaneous Illustration  c.1950

Jean Fautrier, Illustration pour Madame Edwarda, de Georges Bataille, 1947

The C. : 5. Is there a gesture, a word, an object, maybe mundane for most people but erotically charged for you? 

Natalie Krim: Gesture: The way my boyfriend grabs my knee every time we get in the car.  It’s such a little thing, but he has done it consistently since our first date and I still get butterflies over it. Also, when I see people take initiative and stick up for something they are passionate about- that makes me feel all melty inside.  Word: Breathe Object: I have a serious thing right now for Belotti Spaghetti chairs from the 70’s/80’s. I’m really into the mixing of chrome with the thin PVC. Chairs in general are erotic.

The C. : Has it been challenging for you to produce erotic artworks?  

Natalie Krim: Even though my work is viewed as erotic and many of it has been, I’m generally not creating from a place that is focused on provoking an erotic response. 
I think there is a difference between nudity in art and erotic art- I see myself moving more in the direction of the latter. 

My work over the last few years comes from a place of trying to understand reproductive choices and health and acceptance of self, which still has a strong focus on the body, but it is not stemming from necessarily an erotic mindset.

Making that shift can be challenging. Also, one of the greater struggles I've had, and this is more so before the Me Too era, is appropriate boundaries being blurred between art and artist. There have been moments where I haven’t wanted to create, sometimes for months at a time, because I wanted to avoid inappropriate situations associated with my art and I developed a lot of anxiety over creating. That's not only hard emotionally, but when trying to keep oneself and art relevant on social media, which works best when you are posting all the time, it created this mind-fuck around self worth and art worth. These challenges have brought me to a point where I not only protect myself and my mind, but my drawings - as if they are  my own children.  I just keep moving forward .