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1870 A Space Odyssey: Astoundingly prophetic illustrations for Jules Verne’s ‘Around the Moon’
09.14.2017
07:19 am
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Top fact: Jules Verne is the most translated French author ever.

Second slightly more impressive fact: Jules Verne is the second most translated author in the world, not too far behind Agatha Christie but ahead of William Shakespeare.

In the English-speaking world, Monsieur Verne may still have the reputation as a children’s author whose best-selling books have provided prime material for a lot of Hollywood movies but in truth, Jules Verne is the “Father of Science-Fiction.” Verne produced his best-known works like Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), long before his nearest rival H.G. Wells ever considered putting pen to paper.

At school, Jules Verne was the type of author whose novels were doled out during reading class and awarded (if you were lucky) at prize givings for academic excellence. That kind of thing. There was something wholesome about Verne and to an extent, H.G. Wells. A real belief that reading these authors inspired the right kind of enquiring mind—one driven by an interest in understanding the world through scientific investigation. Which was kinda strange as our teachers were a bunch of Christian Brothers whose remit was to instill the fear of God, teach some useful education, and offer the requisite religious instruction to live a good Catholic life.

Well, I suppose one out of three isn’t bad for the effort.

This was when America was firing rockets at the Moon, something that made Verne seem prescient and relevant in a way figures like Nostradamus never do. I’d read From the Earth to the Moon and thought it interesting but slightly disappointing as (unlike say Wells’ The First Men in the Moon with its insectoid creatures the Selenites) the book was mainly concerned with the scientific practicalities facing the Baltimore Gun Club in their ambitions (and rivalries) to send a rocket to the Moon. I was far more impressed by the follow-up novel Around the Moon which continued the adventures of the first three astronauts—Impey Barbicane, Captain Nicholl, and Michel Ardan (along with their dog)—who were fired in a bullet-shaped rocket from a giant cannon—the Columbiad space gun—up into space.

Verne’s novels were highly entertaining and his ideas always seemed feasible. One book, Paris in the Twentieth Century, which was written in 1863 but not published until 1994 having languished in locked bronze safe for almost a century, described the very world in which we live today, as Oliver Tearle notes in his compendium The Secret Library:

[Paris in the Twentieth Century] had been written in 1863 but [was] set in the then far-off future world of 1960. It described a world in which people drive motorcars powered by internal combustion and travel to work in driverless trains. Their houses are lit by electric light. They use fax machines, telephones and computers, and live in skyscrapers furnished with elevators and television. The criminals are executed using the electric chair. Greek and Latin are no longer widely taught in schools, and the French language has been ‘corrupted’ by borrowings from English. People shop in huge department stores, and the streets are adorned with advertisements in electric lights. Money has become everyone’s god. The novel also describes a tall structure in Paris, an electric lighthouse that can be seen for miles around. This was in 1863; the Eiffel Tower would not be built until 1889.

Similarly, many of the ideas in Around the Moon are scientifically possible and uncannily descriptive of how an Apollo misison to the Moon would return to Earth—jet rockets for thrust and a landing in the sea. The artist Émile-Antoine Bayard was tasked with illustrating Verne’s novel and he produced a set of images which are rightly described as “arguably the very first to depict space travel on a scientific basis.”
 
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Take off with more incredible illustrations from Verne’s ‘Around the Moon,’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.14.2017
07:19 am
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‘Girls’: Drawing porn with eyes wide shut (NSFW)
09.12.2017
08:58 am
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Take a pencil and a piece of paper. Sit in front of a mirror and look at your face. Now close your eyes and draw your own portrait in one continuous line. This will give you an idea of the technique used by multi-media artist Katie Dunkle to “blindly” draw images taken from pornography.

In her series of “blind contour” line drawings titled Girls, Dunkle re-creates pornographic pictures in ink, pencil, chalk, and watercolor without looking at her canvas. The finished drawings are recognizable yet disturbing representations of erotica from which the viewer can step back and “reconsider what it means to pose nude for the visual stimulation of others.”

In her artist’s statement for Girls, Dunkle wrote:

The digital adult industry allows females to be groped in the darkness by a disconnected set of hands, transforming a real person into a two-dimensional cluster of flesh-tone pixels. In this respect the artist chooses to literally be blind to her artwork’s unfolding creation to honor these unknown women all the while asking and wondering, who are these women?

Katie draws attention to the countless women who are showcased for pleasure and then hastily discarded. Her priority as a female artist is to give these women a new pedestal for a different audience, whilst honoring the female body in all its glory. Her artwork gives these women a new soul and through the use of mixed media on paper allows the creations to radiate emergent emotional content, which takes the viewer on an intuitive journey through everything from anguish, seduction, pleasure and mystery.

Dunkle’s inspiration for Girls is “the insatiable urge of humanities demand for sexual stimulation.” Dunkle’s intention is to open debate about the nature of pornography and to “breathe life back into” these women making them more than just naked sexual objects for the viewer’s pleasure. See more Katie Dunkle’s work here.
 
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‘Stephany.’
 
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‘Roxanne.’
 
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See more of Katie Dunkle’s ‘blind contour’ drawings, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.12.2017
08:58 am
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A man for all seasons: Meet Surrealist painter, poet, and erotic artist Jindřich Štyrský (NSFW)
09.11.2017
11:53 am
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Untitled, from the ‘Portable Cabinet’ (1934).
 
Jindřich Štyrský was an artist, a painter, a Surrealist, a writer, a poet, an editor, a photographer, a pornographer, a collagist, a revolutionary, a provocateur, a theatre director, and a stage designer.

If Štyrský had only chosen to focus on just one of these different roles, he would still be regarded as a highly original and relatively important artist. That he was successful at all of them, gives some idea of this remarkable man’s prodigious talents

Jindřich Štyrský was born in Lower Čermná, Czechoslovakia, on August 11th, 1899. It’s variously written in different biographies all probably copying the same source that Štyrský was deeply affected by the death of his 21-year-old half-sister Marie when he was five. How this impinged on his life is never quite revealed—other than his later erotic artwork where she becomes the object of his desire and that he carried the same genetic defect (a bad heart) that inevitably led to his own demise. Štyrský had a natural talent for art which led him to study at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts. His early work (like “Church on the Hill”) showed his interest in Cubism but hardly suggests the provocative and revolutionary work that was to come.

During the early 1920s, he formed a relationship/collaboration with the artist Toyen (aka Marie Čermínová). Toyen preferred to be addressed as “he” or “him” defying gender roles and confounding the male dominated art world with his sexually explicit erotic drawings. Štyrský and Toyen joined the avant-garde group Devětsil where they exhibited their paintings. Štyrský also became involved with the group’s theatrical wing the Liberated Theater, where he worked as designer and director. Together with Toyen, he also formed Artificialism—an artistic response to Cubism which proposed “Leaving reality alone” and striving for “maximum imaginativeness.”

Artificialism is the identification of painter and poet. It negates painting as a mere formal game and entertainment for the eyes (subjectless painting).  It negates formally historicizing painting (Surrealism).  Artificialism has an abstract consciousness of reality.  It does not deny the existence of reality, but it does not use it either.  Its interest focuses on poetry that fills the gaps between real forms and that emanates from reality.  It reacts to the latent poetry of interiors of real forms by pursuing positive continuity.

Whatever that may mean. Perhaps understandably, it was a short-lived movement from 1927-28.

In 1930 Štyrský started the Erotic Review, and together with Toyen produced an array of startling and highly explicit imagery for the magazine. Toyen wanted to eroticize everything. Štyrský wanted to épater la bourgeoisie. God was dead. Let’s fuck. His erotica was banned and had to be published privately via subscription. The only problem with épater la bourgeoisie is that the bourgeoisie is the only group that can afford to buy the material intended to shock them, and the offspring of la bourgeoisie embrace these supposedly shocking ideas with little objection. Yet, Štyrský saw this all as creating a revolution which would eventually change society. This may be all right in theory but in practice, well, Czechoslovakia fell first under the cosh of the Nazis and then the Soviets who had their own ideas of how to épater la bourgeoisie.

In 1935 Štyrský became a founding member of the Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia. This was in large part inspired by his and Toyen’s visit to Paris to meet with André Breton. It was during one of these trips in 1935, that Štyrský fell seriously ill and almost died. Though he never regained full health again, Štyrský still managed to produce a phenomenal amount of artwork during the last seven years of his life.

To give some idea of Štyrský‘s range as an artist, here’s a small selection of his work from early paintings to erotic collages and photography 1921-42.
 
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‘Church on the Hill’ (1921).
 
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‘Country Cemetery’ (1928).
 
More Surreal and explicit work, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.11.2017
11:53 am
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Apparently hair nails with tiny faces are a thing
09.11.2017
10:19 am
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There’s not too much information about these “hair nails” by visual illusion artist Dain Yoon. Could they be a new trend? I simply don’t know. Dain Yoon posted her tiny-faced nail manicure on Instagram yesterday and the images have already attracted over 85,000 views.

This is true dedication to manicure if I’ve ever seen it. I’m not quite sure how you’d keep them clean, eat or wipe, but, hey, it’s art, right?

Too see more of Dain Yoon’s work, visit her Instagram or website.


 

 

 
via Everlasting Blort

Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.11.2017
10:19 am
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Boys and girls come out to play: The strange, surreal, and phantasmagorical world of Jaco Putker
09.08.2017
09:08 am
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‘The Boy and The Hat.’
 
For Jaco Putker, the great thing about being an artist is waking up each morning and not knowing what he’s going do that day. It’s this great sense of freedom that really matters rather than being known by the appellation “artist.” Putker has said he doesn’t know what it means to be an artist. Mostly, he feels like “a regular guy who loves to create.”

Jaco Putker is an artist and printmaker from the Hague, Netherlands. He uses digital and traditional methods of printmaking to create his pictures but prefers to work with photopolymer, or solar plate, etching. This allows him to produce highly photo-realistic depictions as can be seen by the selection of etchings shown here. Putker’s artwork is described as strange, surreal, and phantasmagorical, sometimes amusing, often sinister. He offers no interpretation of what his pictures might mean—even the titles offer no clue but are merely simple descriptive statements like The Girl and The Berries or The Boy and The Masks. His intention is for the viewer to bring their own interpretation to each picture—thinking of each image as say, an illustration to a series of imaginary fables which are only given meaning in the viewer’s mind.

Putker has won several awards for his highly distinctive artworks which have been exhibited across the world from Tokyo to Chicago, China to Britain. He claims he has no one influence on his work but cites an abiding interest in “Nature and in how nature works, in its perfection and self-reliance and its power of rejuvenation and destruction. In how it has a profound effect on not just me, but on virtually every human being.”

I’m interested in the Hermetic Principles of Correspondence (formulated in the axiom ‘As Above, So Below’; the correlation between macro and micro cosmos) and of Vibration (which states that all is in constant motion. Both in a visually perceivable manner as on a (sub)atomic level. Every part of nature is connected to any other part of nature. These seem to be the parameters within which my work takes place. But within these parameters,  I try not to think too much about my work. Defining it sort of kills it for me. In hindsight, I see a development and recurring themes and elements. And it strikes me that I seem to be saying the same thing over and over, regardless of style, medium or technique.

A selection of Jaco Putker’s prints are available to buy here and more of his work can be found here.
 
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‘The Girl and The Berries.’
 
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‘Interior No.48 .’
 
More dreamland etchings, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.08.2017
09:08 am
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Test Dept to mark centenary of Russian Revolution with ‘Assembly of Disturbance’ festival
09.08.2017
07:53 am
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Test Dept, the industrial group that invented the “Stakhanovite Sound,” will mark the 100th anniversary of October 1917 with a festival at London’s Red Gallery. Along with the live premiere of material from Test Dept’s new album Disturbance, the lineup includes live performances by Puce Mary, Hannah Sawtell, Kris Canavan, Disinformation, Prolekult, and Fuckhead, and DJ sets by Trevor Jackson and Nina. There will also be installations, film screenings, talks, and an exhibition of Test Dept artifacts called Culture Is Not A Luxury!

The only industrial outfit explicitly committed to socialism—at least, none of the others worked with the South Wales Striking Miners Choir or wrote about Comrade Enver Hoxha—Test Dept promises to bring historical perspective to the nightmare we are living through. From the press release:

[T]he festival explores how one hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, which unleashed radical artistic forces that sought to build an idealistic new society, the current socio-political climate is also engendering a need for a profound shift in governance. As such, Assembly of Disturbance invites you to join an assemblage of artists to consider the prevalent and pressing intersection of art and activism, challenging and disrupting the current state of affairs in Britain, and beyond.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.08.2017
07:53 am
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Someday is Now: The trailblazing political pop art of Sister Corita
09.06.2017
01:17 pm
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For those of us who worship at the altar of art and creativity, the career of Sister Corita serves as something like a proof that exciting and bracing art can come from any source. Another way of stating this is that if Sister Corita had never existed, the art-heads of the 1960s might have been obliged to invent her. Sister Corita was a peace activist, a nun, and a pop artist of considerable stature—all at the same time.

The woman who would later become known as Sister Corita was born Frances Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1918, which incidentally means that she was 45 years old on the day that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed. Her large family moved to Los Angeles when she was young, where she would find educational mentors in a Catholic community of liberal nuns, namely the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart Order. They encouraged her to pursue art. In the 1950s she came upon an old silk screen at the art department of Immaculate Heart College and the wife of a Mexican silk-screen practitioner taught her how to clean and use it.

Her career can be said to have begun then; despite impressive productivity, however, it took about a decade for her work, which incorporated textual elements from the very start, to come into full maturity. The debt that Sister Corita owes artists like Andy Warhol and Peter Blake is evident everywhere, but it should be emphasized that the work of those two men lacked moral and spirital components that came to Sister Corita quite easily. When she zooms in on a package of Wonder Bread with emphasis on the words “Enriched Bread,” it’s almost impossible not to think of Jesus Christ. Warhol’s work has a moral element, for sure, but he wouldn’t have been as likely to meditate on the words wonder, enriched, and bread in the same way. (Warhol was only interested in one kind of “bread”: money!)

In 1967 she said, “I started early putting words into my prints, and the words just got bigger and bigger.” That year the Morris Gallery in New York hosted a show dedicated to her prints. By this time she was a “card-carrying” member of the peace movement; she was quoted as saying, “I’m not brave enough not to pay my income tax and risk going to jail, but I can say rather freely what I want to say in my art.”

After a lifetime of association with the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she resigned from the order in 1968, in part because of the unusual demands her sudden celebrity had brought. It’s fascinating to watch her work get progressively darker through the 1965-1970 period. I marvel at the sheer balls it would take to put together a red, white, and blue canvas with the words assassination and violence prominently represented and call it American Sampler—I just know I don’t have them!

For a good overview of her work, by all means do consult Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita by Julie Ault. The Corita Art Center has a terrific collection of her images as well.
 

For Eleanor, 1964
 

Mary Does Laugh, 1964
 
Much more after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.06.2017
01:17 pm
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These amazing hand-painted Ghanaian horror movie posters are often better than the films!
09.06.2017
10:44 am
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Perhaps there should be a warning. Maybe something like: “These Ghanaian movie posters may have no relationship to the actual film you are about to see.” But that kinda ruins what these artists are trying to achieve. Their remit was simple: Get as many people to come and see this film no matter what—so paint lots of blood and guts and monsters and big, big, huge breasts. Anything. Just so long as it gets some butts on seats and some moolah in the box office coffers.

The Ghanaian artists who created these posters probably didn’t make much money for their efforts. They probably could earn far more painting walls or street signs or putting down road markings. Each poster could take up to three days to create depending on the subject matter and what the artist could find out about the movie. Their one big advantage was that they could paint whatever they liked so long as it created interest. This inevitably led to a few well-worn tropes: snake women, skeletons, zombies, witchcraft, and even the occasional giant fish—as seen in a few James Bond posters. Some of these efforts are far better than the films they advertised—Van Helsing, for example.

The so-called “Golden Age” of Ghanaian movie posters is cited as the 1980s—1990s, when the boom in VHS players meant films could be screened in the smallest of venues, Most of the posters from this era were painted on grain sacks or just large pieces of cloth. These now fetch around a thousand bucks a pop at the more fashionable L.A. art galleries—considerably more than the few cedis the artist originally made.
 
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More handmade Ghanaian movie posters, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.06.2017
10:44 am
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Sex and Death, Beauty and Decay: The dark art of Vania Zouravliov
09.06.2017
09:34 am
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We’re leaving Beardsley country. Taking the old dirt road off Harry Clarke county, on thru the inky backwoods and the old lost village long grown green and rotten with tree and weed, towards a place called Vania Zouravliov. The sky’s dark, and there’s movement among the trees that grow too close together to give any idea what that movement might be other than it’s something watching, something waiting. And you know pretty soon you’re going be meeting this something one way or another and the thought of it sends a cold ripple of excitement through your backbone as you push on ahead wanting to get there faster.

That’s kinda like the feeling I get when I look at the artwork of Vania Zouravliov.

Zouravliov is a Russian graphic artist based in London who draws sensuous, intricate pictures of beauty, death, sex, and decay. Born into an artistic family (his mother was an art teacher), Zouravliov was a child prodigy whose earliest works gained him considerable praise and some notoriety—“famous communist artists, godfathers of social realism, told him that his work was from the Devil.” He was drawing “evil hammerhead people” at the age of four, which he has said proves that “Contrary to what most adults would like to believe, a child’s mind can be a very strange and disturbing place.”

By thirteen, Zouravliov was exhibiting his work in Moscow in 1994 and then internationally. He began to travel and later attended art college in Edinburgh where he started his career in earnest producing work for the Scotsman newspaper and then for magazines and comics. He moved to London where he is currently based.

In an interview with Awk Online Gallery, Zouravilov said he found his inspiration everywhere:

[F]rom popular culture to classical art.I get inspired by fashion magazines, books, films, old photographs, music, various cultures, and religions. I think my overall melancholic view on life is represented in my work.

When I was a child I used to draw animals and birds all the time and now I draw women. I can’t think of anything more interesting or beautiful at this point in my life. I use female characters in my work to say or explain things about myself.

He cites his favorite artists as Ingres, Gustav Dore, Grunewald, Von Bayros, Bakst, Utamar, and Belgian symbolist Fernand Khnopff—whose paintings have an “other-worldly feel to them.”

That other-worldly feel is also there in Zouravliov’s work which is rich, beautiful, and utterly personal. There’s a quote from Zouravliov that’s been bandied about the Internet for a long time which gives his answer to the question “What’s the one thing that gives you the inspiration to keep making art?”

A strong belief that creativity is the only relative freedom we have in this world.

It’s a good answer which I hope is true. See more of Vania Zouravliov’s work here and here.
 
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See more of Vania Zouravliov’s art, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.06.2017
09:34 am
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Your worst nightmares: The macabre and disturbing sculptures of Emil Melmoth (NSFW)
09.05.2017
09:37 am
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Imagine someone sneaked into your bedroom when you were asleep, peeled back your eyelids and scooped out your very worst nightmares then turned them all into sculptures.

Well, that’s kinda like what Mexican artist Emil Melmoth has achieved with his gruesome, morbid, yet strangely compelling sculptures of deformed creatures and unnamed things that dwell in the night—he has made the terrors of darkness visible.

Melmoth takes his inspiration from religious iconography, medical anatomy, death culture, the circus, the freak show, and the downright macabre. His sculptures may look like expensive props for a deeply disturbing horror movie but they are intended to engage the viewer in some serious thinking. Fusing wax, ceramics, resin, nails, and bone, Melmoth creates meditations on the human condition that juxtapose “ideas of religious immortality and paradise with the reality of bodily imperfection, dissection, and truths of scientific knowledge.”

[His] wax, anatomical models revel in a dark and surreal environment, and where his depraved sculptures live in affliction: fragile beings in an eternally harrowing state of mind. Melmoth projects the sublime and ethereal concepts of death onto his creations, portraying pessimism, nihilism, existentialism, the question of transcendence beyond death, mental instability, and self-destruction, all ideas represented in his invigorating constructs.

An exhibition of his work is currently on show at the Last Rites Gallery (until September 9th) but if you can’t make that then you can follow Emil Melmoth on Instagram and Facebook.
 
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See more of Emil Melmoth’s nightmarish sculptures, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.05.2017
09:37 am
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