LOST WKND ARTICLE ON ASGER CARLSEN - 'The Neck Bone's Connected to the Amorphous Mound of Gnarled Flesh'
Considering his eerily surrealistic photographs that treat the human body as grotesque raw materials, a sense of comfortable familiarity was the last sensation I expected when visiting Asger Carlsen’s longtime Chinatown studio. However, this jarring mélange of the dreamlike with the recognizable considerably strengthens Carlsen’s captivating art. Reflecting Sigmund Freud’s definition of the uncanny in his 1919 essay as “that class of terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once familiar,” Carlsen masterfully harnesses this everyday horror to rupture and reconfigure the physiological figure.
Carlsen’s digitally manipulated black-and-white photographs—from his Lynchian series Wrong (2010), to his later Hester (2012)—are reminiscent of Hans Bellmer’s dolls, all mishmashed limbs and torsos and skillfully crafted lumps of tumescent flesh. Recently transitioning from photography to the more multidisciplinary spectrum, Carlsen exhibited drawings and a sculpture at Berlin’s Dittrich & Schlechtriem in 2015. Carlsen, embarking on an unintentional “year of collaborations,” is currently working on an ongoing project with musician and artist Casey Spooner (of electroclash duo Fischerspooner), as well as a radically different, almost collage-oriented photography book with seminal photographer Roger Ballen.
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