It was a meeting with Hans-Jürgen Döpp in 2002 that persuaded Ecremont to ‘come out’ with his erotic work. As with other promising artists, Hans-Jürgen commissioned a series of drawings to accompany Georges Bataille’s 1928 erotic novella Histoire de l’oeil (Story of the Eye), and as Ecrement explains, this ‘helped build the elements of my imagination during my discovery of sexuality’.

The first edition of Histoire de l’oeil, illustrated by Hans Bellmer, was of just 134 copies, and it was not until the early 1940s that clandestine copies began to appear more widely; it was censored until the 1950s and appeared in English translation only in 1953. Narrated by an unnamed young man looking back on his exploits, Histoire de l’oeil describes the sexual perversions of a pair of teenage lovers. Simone is his primary female partner, but the narrative includes two important secondary figures, Marcelle, a mentally ill sixteen-year-old girl who comes to a sad end, and Lord Edmund, a voyeuristic English émigré aristocrat. Though often portrayed as pure pornography, interpretation of the story has gradually matured to reveal considerable philosophical and emotional depth, its imagery built upon a series of metaphors which in turn refer to philosophical constructs developed in Bataille’s wider work on the erotic, including the eye, the vagina, the anus, the testicle, the egg, the sun and the earth – uncomfortable connections which Ecrement also explores to the limit in this series of drawings.

We are very grateful to Hans-Jürgen Döpp for these images; Hans-Jürgen, the compiler of many books on erotic art, curates the Venusberg online gallery and bookshop which you can find here.