It’s clear from Barbarella that Jean-Claude Forest was fascinated by the complexity of sexual interaction, but it is in Louise Rose, twenty years later, that he shows us the darker side of his imagination. The limited edition portfolio, produced in conjunction with his friend Daniel Dubos, is a textless narrative in which the protagonist experiences a range of perverse male fantasies played out on her naked body.

We are shown gang rape, incarceration, military roleplay (or is it?), and a painful-looking enema. But then the animal masks appear, and maybe by the last frame Louise Rose has the last laugh.

Forest certainly gives us a lot to think about, not helped much by a typically verbose introduction, which in true French fashion says a lot without telling us anything useful. ‘We talk, we say things. Sometimes we also do things. Sometimes we remember, and sometimes find it more prudent to forget. Who are we talking to? Who do we do things with? With the other, the one who exists inside us, in our depths. The diver, the prince reigning over the abysses that we want to be dark and hope to be volcanic. And he frequently rewards us with new fantasies, or to be more accurate new versions of our old fantasies. But with these accumulated dreams, like pebble collections in our drawers, in the end we feel more cluttered than rich. And everything is messy … ’.

Louise Rose was published by Éditions Futuropolis/Kesselring in a limited numbered edition of 1,500 copies.