Odiseo is a magazine founded by The Flames, an independent publishing venture by Folch studio in Barcelona. Combining art, erotica and philosophical essays since 2004, it aims not only to your visual experience, but also to intellectual excitement. According to the creators, it explores “new ways and offer a different and cross-cutting vision of erotism that goes far beyond gender, seeking seduction through masculinity, femininity, bodies and abstraction.”


Classic Erotica

The name Odiseo came from multiple ideas. First, the studio was trying to find a name that could work on a worldwide level. It was supposed to be easy for the English-speaking market and belong to the classical tradition at the same time. So, Folch and his team chose the Latin translation of the Greek Odysseus, Ulysses, which meant for them curiosity, bravery, youth and beauty. There was something aesthetic about the word itself as it had a harmony of letter combination. Probably, the fact that the eponymous novel by James Joyce was banned in many countries as obscene makes sense too.

Odiseo’s founder Albert Folch says by creating the magazine he wanted to achieve two purposes; to explore the nature of erotica publishing and to develop a project, which has an opinion. “What certainly wasn’t appealing to us was the “girl with a thumb in her mouth, lying in bed and acting casual” stereotype. This is not something we knew immediately – in fact, it is something it took us one issue to realise – but the idea illustrates quite well what we want to do with Odiseo: to explore eroticism in different and, hopefully, new ways,” Folch adds. So, the first issue didn’t satisfy the studio with the form and the overall mood. That’s why they redesigned the second volume and made it look more like a picture book.

Odiseo Journal. Undress Odiseo

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Odiseo project became possible due to the great potential of its creators, who master multiple disciplines like creative strategy, naming, print design, digital, photography, etc. All together, they do each issue for pleasure, while their commercial work as a studio gives them enough profit to realize the ambitions. “If anything it gives us a better chance to be regarded as a studio with the ability to do work, both in design and outside.” says Folch. It looks like Odiseo truly brings freedom, which the studio has been appreciating for some time already. The experience of making other independent magazines showed there was no need to hurry or overdo. It’s workable because of the small scale, and the studio still tries to keep it low-key. The only aims are moving away from gender classification, gaining credibility and finding its own niche.

There’s definitely something remarkable about Odiseo’s covers. Sometimes they even pick up subjects far from sex and seduction and make it breath with some mind-blowing air. That’s exactly what happened to the cover of the sixth issue with a giant African snail. “The giant snail is an intriguing abstraction, which allowed us to convert erotica into imagination on a higher level,” says Folch. “When I received this work, it was clear to me that it deserved being on the cover.” In a tradition of the magazine, the image of the snail goes beyond the gender as it aims to attract both men and women.

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Irony, Satire And Provocation

The latest ninth volume of the magazine has a surreal cover shot by Alexandra Von Fuerst, an Italian photographer. She also wrote an essay about sexual fetishes with still lives and hedonic clay sculptures followed. The issue is united by the theme of Laughter and Loathing. It reviews the phenomena of irony, satire and provocation. There are Megan Cullen who images “a sisterly artistic sublime orchestrated in the desert”, a sensual still life history directed by Atelier Cristina Ramos, “Army of Love”, a visionary manifesto by Ingo Niermann, that teaches us the Completist love for the very people. In contradistinction to free love, it should apply to those whom we haven’t felt any attraction to. There’s also an expert from the surreal and satirical play “The White Slave”, that tells us about a German soldier who got back to post-war Amsterdam and found himself in a paranoid idiosyncratic world full of erotics and fetishes. Rene Daalder, a writer and a director, and architect Rem Koolhaas are the authors. Joe Fletcher, a filmmaker and a writer appeared in the magazine with the acid reflections about JD Ballard’s Crash, a 70’s classic novel about car-crashing fetishism.

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