The best art strives to make visible the invisible, and the body painter Johannes Stoetter takes his work literally, seemingly turning his subjects inside out to reveal internal anatomy; with his vivid colors, he traces anatomical parts that linger below the surface of the skin, visually peeling away layers of his models’ body.
With each work, he digs deeper below the surface, moving from sinewy muscles to organs, and ultimately into the psyche of his subjects. He begins by staying relatively true to human anatomy, depicting detailed tendons and muscles in eye-popping red, yet throughout the series, the artist’s allegiance to science softens, allowing him to paint with more unrealistic, emotionally evocative hues.
Without discernible facial features, his models rely solely upon the apparent tensions of the biceps or the illusion of blood flow to express their identities, opening the door for Stoetter to experiment with non-literal anatomies. The placid woman is painted with the natural world associated iconographically and art historically with her sex, while a male model is shown as having a geometrical machine beneath his flesh.
Each landscape nurtures the perception of the body and heightens its beauty, and the painted bodies cease to be individual and come to represent the coherent, unchanging nature of humankind; in each of us, there ticks the same robot heart, flows the same river of blood. Though nude, the models are desexualized by the obscuring of their flesh, and we are invited to marvel at the organic majesty of anatomy, both physical and emotional. Take a look at Anatomy and more of Stoetter’s astounding work below. (via Lost at E Minor)