Reply to your ad

Olivia Schenker

2017 - Ongoing

"Reply to your ad" is the result of a project carried out between 2017 and 2019. It explores intimacy, fetishism, voyeurism, masculinity and femininity, depicting an invisible community, divided between the desire to show oneself and the obligation to hide.

While there are as many sexual practices as there are people on Earth, transvestism remains locked in the straitjacket of sexual deviances. These minorities then prefer to keep their fetish in silence. The Internet has thus become the refuge of a secret but surprisingly vast community, preventing today's norms from impoverishing the inexhaustible world of desire and perversion. Because the Internet is now the best way to unveil and discover hidden fantasies, I posted several classified ads there for a year, offering to photograph anonymously anyone who would like to be captured in an exhibition situation.

The image occupies a primordial place in fetishist practice. Especially for transvestites, where photography appears as an end in itself. My ads received nearly 60 replies. Men from my region (Lausanne), heterosexual, aged between 20 and 80 years old, sometimes married, sometimes related, sometimes men for whom female clothing is a powerful source of excitement. Eager to show off this double life but hampered by a sense of shame, they all chose to remain anonymous. After long exchanges of emails, thanks to which I had the privilege of becoming their only confidant, I went to meet five of them. This is how this collaborative project began, in which the camera becomes the ultimate object of desire.

The project proposes an immersion in the darkest and most intimate part of these men. Engraving between their personal archives, drawings, writings, scans, self-portraits and photographs. Like clothing, the image takes on the role of a unique, fetish object, whose texture, contours and materiality take on a sacred importance.

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