In 2012, Iosca inherited a trunk filled with gay pornography from a friend of a friend who had died of AIDS nearly a decade earlier. After retrieving the material from a storage unit, Iosca felt a strong responsibility to create something from the material, both to honor a man he’d never met and the many other men like him.
On moving to New York the magazines traveled with him, and in many ways their sheer weight forced the project. Iosca began by taking the magazines apart with the idea of creating new signatures out of their pages and in the process “found” these images. The compositions are the result of the pagination required for offset-printing a saddle-stitched publication and each magazine yielded just a handful (or less) of the composite images.
The publication title EXQUISITE CORPS plays on ‘exquisite corpse’ from the original French term cadavre exquis, the surrealist party game in which members of a group each draws a portion of a fantastical body, with the figure in its entirety only revealed at the end of the exercise.
Of the publication, Iosca says: I like the idea of remembering these men. They’re not the centerfolds. They always saved the best looking man for the centerfold, these are the other men. The filler. The forgettable ones you flick past on the way to the feature. And isn’t that a stunning metaphor for life?
I think these bodies are exquisite. I think they are funny and sexy and compelling in the way they are a window into a specific kind of commercialized desire. They’re a product of their time, which also comes with a shocking amount of innocence for such “adult” images. They’re also nostalgic. No one buys dirty magazines any more. They’re a lovesong to printed matter. I’ve been making work about being queer for over a decade. I think it’s important.‘
EXQUISITE CORPS is printed by Portland-based Container Corps, featuring two-ply chipboard cover, hand-sewn signatures, blind embossing, and a wraparound folded poster. Published in an edition of 350 copies.