.
 
Search

This is Shibari – an interview with Marie Sauvage


Shibari photo by Kicki Yang Zhang
Kicki Yang Zhang practicing Shibari. Photo: J Konrad Schmidt

Bondage, trust issues and fetishism. The intimacy created by Shibari artist Marie Sauvage is another form of unspoken communication. Playful got curious about Miss Marie, who is one of few women giving the Japanese art form a feminine perspective.

”All practices of Japanese aesthetics are informed by Zen philosophy, including Shibari. Shibari is an activity of acute mindfulness, which puts both rigger and muse in a meditative trance. The precarious nature of lifting a body on thin ropes requires years of mastery- from learning reliable knots, to developing an understanding of the anatomy of the body, and a basic command of physics. The rigger must act with expert agility to not damage the delicate nerves and muscles of their muse. Suspension gives one an intense body high from the rush of endorphins that lingers long after they are released from the physical ties.” - Marie Sauvage;

”Rope on the body was first used during the Samurai era to capture prisoners and criminals, a martial art called Hojojutsu. Even today, Japanese policemen always have rope in their vehicles. This intricate form of binding evolved over the centuries to have erotic derivations, which eventually expressed itself in theatrical performances and paintings in Japan. It’s popularity finally proliferated with the internet connecting bondage enthusiasts worldwide. They thought themselves strange and unique with their rope fantasies, and now the world has realized this visceral desire to be bound is an universal yearning. Whether its for meditative, aesthetic or erotic reasons, Shibari is a powerful tool to find the pathway to one’s inner self.”


I’ve always been fascinated by sexuality since I was a kid

Marie Sauvage
Marie Sauvage performing Shibari.


You come from the art and design world, have you ever been interested in kink before, or did it grow from the aesthetics of Shibari?


”I’ve always been fascinated by sexuality since I was a kid. I wasn’t particularly interested in heteronormative sex, but the psychology of desire. This was a natural progression throughout my life, a sort of primal impulse to explore that became better articulated and understood as I became an adult. Shibari is the most aesthetic and cerebral kink practice, so my fascination settled on there and it’s been the best way of erotic self expression.”

You began your rope practice after meeting Shibari master Hajime Kinoko at his art installation at Burning Man, what was the fascination about for you?

”I remember vividly the emotional reaction I had, before having an educated explanation of the practice of Shibari. it was so visceral, speaking to me on a deeper level. It felt dangerous, the dance between the ropes vulnerable, but always done with a tenderness in Japan - it felt like it encapsulated the act of falling in love. The trust to let someone catch you when you fall, the suspension of the ground, like a symbolic act of transcendence into a high state of being. I felt immediately drawn in, I never wanted to be parted from that universe.”

Do you believe Shibari should be brought to the mass, and in what way has performing it taught you?

”I don’t want Shibari to be brought to the masses, I only want to use my perspective to show it in a positive way to my audience. Anything that comes to mass attention loses it’s true essence, especially something sexual. In a sex negative society, the sexual aspect of some aesthetic ritual or act will be stripped away from it, to distance it from the stigma.” –

”Mainstream publications have told me I should open Shibari clinics, like yoga studios, and I don’t like the idea of erasing the sexuality of rope to make it more palatable. So what if people are afraid of it? Why run away from our sexual nature? Why run from our shadows? To erase the shadow would take away the spiritual importance of BDSM, the point of it is to make peace with your inherent darker human nature and sublimate it into something pleasurable, cathartic or beautiful.”


Shibari
Photo: J Konrad Schmidt

Berlin is somewhat known for it’s kink scene - would you describe your events to differ depending on the city you’re hosting it in, and if so, in what way does Berlin differ from for example NY or Paris?


”I see myself as constantly creating fantasies, which means I have to be flexible, and my fantasies draw inspiration from my environment. So I adapt or come up with new ideas in relation to where I am. Usually I like to create romantic, baroque images inspired by an old European aesthetic because it’s so visually delicious to look at.”

”In Berlin, which is known for its industrial vast spaces, I felt more inspired to play with scale, negative space, and silhouette. It was a more emotionally removed approach to Shibarithan I usually do but satisfying to play with a different mood. In terms of the audience of the events, I have found that Berlin has much more of a female audience than any city I have spent time in. I’m happy to see so many women take initiative in their pleasure.”

Many people are talking about the way our subconscious minds are defining our lives. In what way does Shibari free the subconscious mind, and how can you use it to heal?


”The practice of Shibarican be hypnotizing, even trancelike. A susceptible person is allowed to regress into their subconscious, which in kink vernacular is called subspace. In this mental space, along with the physical restriction of the ropes- a person will lose their mental defense mechanisms, and can be confronted with their own vulnerability. My rope partners have given me feedback in these moments, that other situations related to phobias and emotional traumas come up during these sessions. Facing these repressed emotions while being held by ropes with a trusted partner helps people recontextualize their emotions around trust and vulnerability.”


What is Shibari?

Shibari is originated in Japan and is a contemporary form of bondage, based on ropes. The word Shibari means "to tie" and the practitioner ties knots that are attached to the body to give a feeling of sensation.


Shibari is practiced in the BDSM scene, among other places, but originates from Japan. Sometimes Shibari goes under the name Kinbaku.



Interested in Marie Sauvage and her work? Visit her website to delve deeper or have a look at her Instagram.


Article written by: Amanda Sandström Beijer