Subverting Pop Aesthetics
The anonymous Vermibus (yet another example of Tumblr hosting great creativity) pulls down advertising posters, subjects them to an assault of solvents to un-fix the ink, warps the imagery & re-fastens the result to public spaces:
This is a brilliant idea. It totally subverts the pop aesthetic present in adverts, the usual “I wanna be like”/“I wanna shag” that model that we’re clearly suposed to feel when looking at such pictures. Instead, we’re confronted by something quite disturbing, sometimes looking not quite human, sometimes looking like a flayed or decaying body.
What’s also really interesting about this, I think, is that Vermibus has been able to separate the aesthetic of the human form & the aesthetic of the pose. As we’re repelled by the form, we can see the pose for the artifice it is. The poses then look twisted & unnatural when paired with such bodies. Think of all Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, whose hands are twisted in a neurotic, even spasmotic, pose: the sitter’s discomfort is obvious to us now. Vermibus has done something very similar with pop fashion.
This work also reminds me of some of Arnulf Rainer’s work from the late 1960s & early 1970s where he would paint atop photos to accentuate, or otherwise meta-comment, the imagery beneath. Vermibus’ figures are, if anything, even more disturbing.