In 1998, Argentinian artist Nicola Constantino created ‘Peletería Humana’ (Human fur Boutique), a window display with twenty mannequins showing off Nicola’s heeled shoes, dresses and handbags. These elegant designs were fashion forward in a peculiar way: all pieces were made out of real human hair and colored latex cloth which patterns and textures imitated human nipples. The material, reminiscent of real human skin. was a definite erotic but also sickeningly monstrous and abnormal characteristic that made many recoil in disgust.
The attractive yet repulsive pieces delineate the artist’s ideas about two highly addictive societal desires: expensive consumer goods and sex. By creating these garments out of human hair and cloth that reproduced the human skin, she entices the viewer to see, simultaneously, both desires in the same object. We can also say that her ‘elegant’, high end creations (all which are wearable pieces of art) play with notions of the natural and the artificial, ideas of identity in a consumer society, and the materiality of the human body in contemporary times.
Jessica Stoller‘s porcelain sculptures exaggerate the objectification of female bodies using 18th century French aesthetics. Through the medium of clay, Stoller sculpts fluid and grotesque shapes, emphasizing the lack of boundaries between bodies and other materialist images related to consumption. She embellishes this unsettling bodily abundance with a soft, feminine, candy and ice-cream color palette and opulent adornments. These figures are often erotically or mythically charged.This creates an experience of surreal bodily and material abjection for the viewer, while addressing cultural concerns about the control of the feminine body. Stoller’s work, “Spoil,” is currently on view at PPOW Gallery in New York until February 8. (via hi fructose)
Francesco Albano‘s human body sculptures drip, melt, hang, and often appear to be boneless – even the work primarily featuring bones is distorted and lumpy. Working with wax, polyester, latex, iron, and other materials, Albano sculpts shapes and contortions that render the erect and boundaried body flaccid and grotesque.
Albano is “interested in and influenced by a wide range of subjects from philosophical, mystical and spiritual arguments to scientific theories, from psychological studies to real life stories. Albano uses skin and bone as a critical and personal tool of expression to focus on the effect of societal pressures and psychological violence on the human body and collective conscience. More than an inner envelope the artist defines the human skin as a limit and an identity, that interacts with outer world.” He’s lived in Istanbul since 2010. (via my amp goes to 11 and galerist)
The portraits of of Gregory Jacobsen hover somewhere between grotesque and sadly real. He focuses in on the peculiarities that makes each face unique. These peculiarities, our physical insecurities, are strangely exaggerated. Though the faces may look ugly they’re also somehow familiar. Jacobson says of his work:
“I paint figures, focusing on the little bits that obsess me…a little flab hanging over a waistband, ill-fitting shoes, underbites and exciting flags held in dainty orifices…The work is absurd, grotesque and a bit brutal but I try to bring the viewer in with lush and glowing surfaces. Essentially the work is about human failure and weakness groomed and developed to be an asset.”
Christian Rex Van Minnen’s remarkable paintings showcase a mastery of traditional oil painting techniques that are paired wildly with a fascination for historical painting, witty humor, and a strong inclination towards the grotesque.
His still lives pay homage to Dutch vanitas painting yet, even using modes of traditional depiction, they expand to encompass modern sensibilities through the addition of present-day objects and graphic symbols; rainbows, uncanny mushrooms, Cretaceous plant life and hearts and stars accompany decaying flowers, rotted fruit, and scenic lands far away.
His portraits reference the unconventional Mannerist painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo, as well as contemporaries such as Glen Brown and Ivan Albright. Like his still lives, Christian’s portraits are conventional in composition and style, yet his subject’s faces are unrecognizable, malformed and undefinable. They are constructed from a cluster of earthly refuse; human and animal skin, organs and entrails, fruit, insect parts, fur, and textiles come together to emanate feelings of unease, horror, and wonder through intricate, realistic depiction.
By now you know I have a soft spot for illustrators that delve into the dark side so it should be of no surprise that I’m posting the blood covered, head splitting, and eye popping drawings of turkish illustrator Elif Varol Ergen. Not only are these works delightfully grotesque but they are beautifully drawn with an iconic color palette of red, black, and baby blue for good measure.