Embroidery · Stitch · Playboy · 2013

"Verkene til Erlend Helling-Larsen balanserer på en tynn tråd mellom broderi og bondage, hvor kvinnene blir dekt til av tynne tråder som gir assosiasjoner til heklede plagg med lett innsyn til nakne kropper. Han bruker sider fra manneblader med fokus på fotografier av nakne kvinnekropper som utgangspunkt til bildene sine, med en broderingsteknikk som kan minne om modernismens collager."

"Tell us about your process from conception to conclusion.

It was not the long legs, the seductive looks, the naked flesh or the narrow strips of pubic hair that I found unsettling. It was the sewn items I couldn’t handle. I had big plans and good intentions. Combining men’s dream worlds with needlework, something which, back then, I imagined was a decent, harmless women’s occupation. I have embroidered slowly and patiently. I have embellished firm breasts with flowers, stitched curvaceous behinds, and where sex organs are visible, they are not in motion, but sewn firmly in place. I have counted squares, copied grandma’s roses and thought that good ideas deserve good craftsmanship. I have learned that a few well placed stitches can be as cheeky as a whole dress. I make embroidery on paper. That is all there is to it.

I have been doing this for ten years, and there is still no conclusion. Every new type of stitch or new technique gives new possibilities and also changes the conclusion. As a starting point I wanted to be the most decent male artist on the planet. Lately I put more focus on the embroidery and the erotic aspects of my work. When I first started working on this project, I used embroidery as a tool to make nude photos decent. In my recent work the nude models appear rather decent and the embroidery makes it more erotic and sometimes filthy. I think this development is parallel with improving skills and my growing interest in embroidery. Lately I do believe the borders between embroidery and bondage might also just be a question concerning scale and size."