Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for November, 2005

Thoughts on the Imperfection of Man

by Suzanne on November 28th, 2005

via Vintage Photographs - click to enlarge

Contrary to your high hopes, this post won't discuss the "Sociocultural Importance of Dry Land Skating and Its Impact on the Post-Victorian Geopolitical Situation of North-Western Europe with Special Regard to the Dawning of the Modern Age of Private Mobilitas".

It's really just a straight-forward WurzelLinkDump™ with a clever title.



© Nadya Lev - click to enlarge

Beck | Beth Bajema | Bob Carlos Clarke | Clandestina 40 | Darren Holmes | Dayvid LeMmon | Farmer Bob | InkSurge | Kelly Haigh | Matthew Woodson (now with shoppe!) | Meomi Design | Myna Sonou | Nadya Lev | Neo Collective 06 | Oksana Badrak | Shift 108 | Stolen Ideas | Tara McPherson


Still from "The End of the World"

Attack of the 50ft Woman - A gigantic gem from the Internet Archive | Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets - Michel Gagné's new animated series | Making Fiends #20 - Charlotte returns from the deep waters... | The End of the World - Floria Sigismondi's lovely stop 'n' motion video to a crappy song by The Cure


© Marc Burckhardt at the Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery - click to enlarge

Partridges and Pear Trees at Magic Pony in Toronto, Canada.

→ Vernissage: December 1, 2005

→ Featuring: Andrew Bell, Jon Burgerman, Moira Hahn, Nathan Jurevicius, Kozyndan, Junko Mizuno, and many more...

• The Art Dorks Collective's Curious Organism at Hope Gallery in New Haven, USA.

→ Vernissage: December 2, 2005

Parallel Universe at Rectangle Artspace in Miami, USA.

→ Vernissage: December 2, 2005

→ Featuring: Dalek, Miss Van, Gary Baseman, Mars-1, Space Invader, Esao Andrews, and many more...

Instant Gratification: A Day in The Life of a Painting 3 at White Walls Gallery in San Francisco, USA.

→ One day event: December 3, 2005

→ Featuring: Audrey Kawasaki, Sylvia Ji, David Flores, David Choong Lee, and many more...

The Artists' Gifts at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France.

→ Vernissage: December 3, 2005

→ Artists invited : Gary Baseman, Dalek, Shepard Fairey, P.Nicolas Ledoux, Marion Peck, Mark Ryden, Space Invader, Icon Tada, and others.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, USA.

→ Finissage: December 3, 2005 | Group Portfolio

→ Featuring: Robert Williams, Eric Kroll, Winston Smith, Charles Krafft

Ben Frost's Rainbow's End at the Helen Gory Galerie in Melbourne, AUS.

→ Finissage: December 3, 2005

Robert LaDuke, Marc Burckhardt & Erik Sandberg at the Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery in Pasadena, USA.

→ Finissage: December 3, 2005

Picks of the Harvest at Think Space in Los Angeles, USA.

→ Finissage: December 4, 2005

→ Featuring: Dalek, Julie West, Thomas Han, Audrey Kawasaki, and many more...

Slaughter House at Subject Matter Gallery in Costa Mesa, USA.

→ Finissage: December 5, 2005 | Show images | Event photos

→ Featuring: Zach Johnsen, AZStar78 & Tra Selhtrow

Dave Cooper's Pictorial Ruminations on the Volume and Density of Mostly Pillowy Girls as well as Sometimes I Just Want a Hug at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in NYC, USA.

→ Finissage: December 23, 2005

David Stoupakis' Beyond the Rainbow at Clair Obscur Gallery in Los Angeles, USA.

→ Finissage: December 28, 2005


Gulliver's Travels (by Jonathan Swift / English / Illustrated) | Max und Moritz (by Wilhelm Busch / German / Illustrated) | Poems of William Blake (by William Blake / English) | The Cutie Bunch Friendly Pal Pack (by Angus Oblong / English / Illustrated) | The Hunting of the Snark (by Lewis Carroll / English / Illustrated) | The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (by Robert Louis Stevenson / English) | Ubu Roi (by Alfred Jarry / French) | War of the Worlds (by H. G. Wells / English / Illustrated)

→ ... and for the less bibliophile readers: Check out this lovely collection of flipbooks and/or create your own (digital) flipbook.


Apocryph (by PixelSurgeon) | Charles Burns (by The Book Standard) | Charles Burns & Chris Ware (by Open Source) | Charles Glaubitz (by Fecal Face) | Evah Fan (by Fecal Face) | Jake & Dinos Chapman (by the BBC Collective) | Jim Woodring (by Suicide Girls) | Tim Burton (by the BBC Collective)


Les Voyages Imaginaires de Franck Dion - Jules Verne meets anachronistic mecha art.


Once again, the insanely talented Scott Radke surprises us with a set of newly created dolls:

Scott Radke

→ More news over at Scott's journal

In related puppet news, Madame Kerry Kate has updated both her doll army and her website.

Zak Smith Reads My Mind - Part MCCXLIII

by Suzanne on November 27th, 2005

- 2,13% starving, 97,87% artist

Over the past year, monsieur Zak Smith has become my favourite Jeune Artiste Furieux - not only because his drawings and paintings are so romantically rebellious and achingly intimate, but also because it's an enormous pleasure to get emails from him.

© Zak Smith - click images to enlarge

So far, we've discussed topics like sending DNA extracted from his blue/yellow/green hair to a Swiss lab to clone an army of ZakArtBots, the melancholy beauty of zits, the art of starvation & the starvation of the arts, as well as the deplorable nonexistence of squirrels in Brooklyn.

From Zak I learned that

"Pride is only useful as an antidote to shame, so keep it in a bottle and don't let it out much."

Recently, however, Zak started to read my mind - which I find rather uncanny:

"[...] Unless this is one of those things where you write me e-mails pretending to have a crush on me and then take my responses and make some art project out of them - I hate that."

Damn. o_O

Anyway, you might be interested to know that my inspiring friend Zak is featured in Phaidon's "Vitamin D - New Perspectives in Drawing" and that D.A.P. will soon release a veritable Zakofolio.

Thanks for not letting sudden fame play treacherous games with you, Zak.



Official website
• Zak @ Fredericks & Freiser Gallery
• Zak's Gravity's Rainbow Illustrations


Zak Smith - Pictures of Girls, D.A.P.
Vitamin D - New Perspectives in Drawing, Phaidon

Und unten zerschellt das Gerippe

by Suzanne on November 19th, 2005

Danse Macabre (detail) at the Rittersche Palast in Lucerne, founded by Archbishop Carlo Borromeo from Milano in 1577 - click to enlarge

Being a rather unnostalgic person who's often terribly thrilled and curious about new places, I tend to forget where I came from and what brought me here.

Well, provided that my birth certificate isn't a cheap Hungarian fake and I'm indeed not a fisherman's daughter from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, then the origin of all that I am lies in the very heart of Switzerland, in a city called Lucerne. An idyllic little Hobbiton with a lake as clear as spring water and a natural 360° fortification made of magnificent mountains that make the Great Wall of China look like Lego®Land.

So those are the places I wander about in my dreams: My granny's house, the forest behind our house, the spooky little English graveyard across the hill, the ever-threatening Eastern face of Mount Pilatus under the cold milky full moon light.

Maybe I just suffered from an acute "Heidi in Frankfurt" trauma when I lived in Basel, but I do believe that there's much more to miss about Lucerne than just its picturesque quaintness.

As a matter of fact, I realised the other day that most of Lucerne's traditions, mentality phenomena and superstitions I missed have something to do with Catholicism and its changing policy towards old Swiss Paganism.

Even though I'm convinced that the fact that cities like Zurich, Basel & Bern are protestant cities makes them much more dynamic, pragmatic, youthful, ever-changing, open-minded and multicultural places, I'm also certain - even if I might sound like Heinrich Heine - that they'll never quite give you this dubious, deep-rooted feeling of the existence of the supernatural and the inexplainable.

Despite the fact that the first Christian monastery of Lucerne (Kloster im Hof) was built at the beginning of the 8th century, the authorities and the church could never fully control - let alone destroy - the Pagan traditions in the Alpine heart of Switzerland. And it's precisely those parts where the "Old Lore", natural medicine, superstitions & crafts survived until today. Maybe it's the ambiguous awe towards these century-old powers and skills that makes a city like Lucerne so open to introspection & speculation and yet so utterly closed and ignorant towards reforms & changes.

However, if there is such a thing as "affirmative conservatism" that protects old "truths" where they're too weak to defend themselves and that doesn't shut its eye to much needed change, I consider myself a conservative. On the other hand, there's absolutely no doubt that a misunderstood feeling of consistency & tranquility only too often leads to self-righteousness, protectionism, isolationism, lack of self-reformation and unhealthy national pride. Maybe it's no coincidence that the double-edged Neo-Folk Movement is currently so popular here that it'll probably swallow the small Goth scene of Lucerne sooner or later.

Anyway, back to the Frühe Neuzeit: I believe that certain forces may have been active around the area of Lucerne in the late Middle Ages who deliberately (to get more support to ward off the Reformist Movement) or subconsciously (due to a vague feeling of pre-Renaissance historical romanticism) strengthened old Pagan lore and mixed it with Catholic beliefs & superstitions.

One fine example for this amalgamated understanding of religion and rites is the so-called "Geisslechlöpfe" - a traditional form of whipping in the open air after nightfall. On one hand, the Catholic church sees this as a way to pay tribute to Saint Nicholas of Myra - patron of pharmacists, fishermen, sailors and thieves (sic!) - and a symbolised form of Catholic self-flagellation. On the other hand, people from more Alpine and rural parts of Lucerne clearly understand the act of whipping as a way to drive away demons, ghosts, succubi & incubi and most importantly, as a preventive measure to keep the dragon that lives on Mount Pilatus from stealing their children and young cattle. The sound of the whip is also said to protect the cattle from rabies and make the milk creamier. Furthermore, whipping is obviously still used as a form of emergency communication from one Alp to another - just like fires, Alphorns and the so-called "Alpsegen".

And for me, it's the sound that's as essentially connected with the coming of winter as is snow, cinnamon milk and the cracking noise of frozen twigs.

I truly never expected to find so much of my self here.

It's good to be back where you come from.



Danses Macabres

- Verzeichnis der Totentänze in der Schweiz (Inventory of Danses Macabres in Switzerland - German version)

- Dance of the Death at the Spreuer Bridge, Lucerne, Switzerland (English / German versions)

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Totentanz, 1815. (German version - embedded RealPlayer)

Myths & Legends

- Luzerner Sagen (Legends from the City and Canton of Lucerne - German version)

- Mount Pilatus - Legends & Myths (Multilingual)


- Reformation und Gegenreformation: Schweizer Geschichte 1523 - 1712 (Reformation and Anti-Reformation in Switzerland 1523 - 1712 - German version)

General / Tourism

- Official website of the City of Lucerne (Multilingual)

- Official website of Mount Pilatus (Multilingual)

- Lucerne Tourist Board (Multilingual)

Und ein weißes Tier bricht nieder...

by Suzanne on November 9th, 2005

© Eric Reddad-Jordy at Gisela Spiegelburg - click to enlarge

It's been a while since my last post... my absence from the shiny blogosphère had (and has) various reasons¹:

i) I don't have an interweb connection due to administrative, technical and financial difficulties.

ii) The winter term of the uni has started and now that the University of Basel has adapted its courses to the ever-so glorious international BA system, there's much more coursework to do - above all when you're as stupid insatiable as me and choose to study 3 subjects instead of only 1.

iii) I've been quarantined at Basel's influenza clinic due to a suspected H5 N1 infection that turned out to be nothing but a harmless variant of the West Nile virus.

iv) My embalmed baby armadillo suffered from an acute case of homesickness and I had to escort it back to the Rio Grande where it's now looking for its real parents.

However, I skipped my lecture found a short and quiet momentum to write you these few words live from my beloved medieval library here in Basel.

As a matter of fact, they just switched off all the lights and locked the doors. o_O

Maybe my lifelong dream of being locked in a library overnight might finally come true. Weeeeeee!

Anyhow, I'll leave you now with some randomly picked carefully selected Taxidermy & Curiosa links. Please also read A Case of Taxidermy - one of my older posts full of yummy taxidermy art links.


Trish Carney: How do you apologize?

"The photographs are of animals found dead; the majority is of road-killed animals that I encountered on a two-mile stretch of road near where I used to live. "

→ If you like Carney's work, you might also enjoy:

Nathalia Edenmont's ungodly beasts | Debbie Carlos' Human Nature series | Jeanie M.'s Mouse Angel project | Gordon Wilding's fierce & enchanting creatures | Afke Golsteijn's taxidermy artworks | Nigel Grimmer's rather grotesque Road Kill Family Album | The Liquid Fish gallery | T.S.R.'s A Case of Curiosities | The Paxton Gate Store | ... and of course my own article on Cabinets de curiosités.

Pieter Hugo: The Hyena People of Nigeria

"These photographs are the result of ten-day journey he undertook with a group of travelling minstrels and their entourage of animals: three hyenas, two pythons and four monkeys."

Walton Ford: Political Humor & Colonial Critique

"Blending depictions of natural history with political commentary, Ford’s meticulous paintings satirize the history of colonialism and the continuing impact of slavery and other forms of political oppression on today’s social and environmental landscape. Each painting is as much a tutorial in flora and fauna as it is as a scathing indictment of the wrongs committed by nineteenth-century industrialists or, locating the work in the present, contemporary American consumer society."

19th Century Images of Albinism

"The phenomen of trading in images of unusual people seemed much more common in America than elsewhere in the world and examples of photographs of albinos who publically exhibited themselves from other countries are exceedingly rare. This site shows a variety of American images which date from the 1870s - 1890s."

→ Previously featured here - for further reading: Albino Animals (by MessyBeast)

A Social History of Conjoined Twins

"One of the earliest documented cases of conjoined twins are Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, also known as the Biddenden Maids. Born in 1100, the sisters lived for 34 years in Biddenden, County of Kent, England. Mary and Eliza, though often depicted as joined at the hip and shoulders, were likely pygopagus twins who were joined at the buttocks and lower backs. After the death of one sister, doctors hoped to save the life of the other by separating them surgically. The surviving twin refused, declaring, 'As we came together, we will go together.'"

→ Please also visit James G. Mundie's beautiful Conjoined Twins gallery as well as Ratt's Freak Show which have both been featured here previously.

In other beautifully disfigured and anatomically disformed news, Philadelphia's Mütter Museum has recently been expanded and Wurzeltod™ favourite Jessica Joslin has added new fluffy (and not so fluffy) creatures to her most enchanting Wunderkammer.

And now, all the best to you and your imaginary and/or embalmed friends!

See you when I'm back from England.


¹ The following list contains at least 12.3% of blatant lies.

Links via Hugo, The Honky Foundation, Thumbmonkey & The Secret Wurzel™ Link Library.