Liposuction fat, skulls and fur: We spoke to controversial artist Jan Manski

Manski creates nightmarishly beautiful pieces out of industrial, found and human materials.

Aetiology Unknown 33, Jan Manski,2012, 110 x 88 cm (43 5_16 x 34 5_8 in), ultrachrome print, courtesy BREESE LITTLE

Jan Manski’s most recent exhibition, Possesia, is a prologue to Onania – the exhibition he held in 2012. Both are part of a trilogy that examines modern culture, history and human agency. Possesia’s striking metaphor of violence and the totalitarian body has culminated in a collection that is a primitive and haunting journey into the subconscious mind. Illustrating his idea of the Nazi mindset, it is no surprise these ‘possessed’ images and mangled interpretations are the result.

Onania makes a strong statement about the plastic surgery culture we currently find ourselves in. Manski pulls together human fat, sourced from liposuction operations, hair, skulls and fur to create a beautiful yet stomach-churning display that makes a striking statement about today’s narcissistic and self indulgent society. Many of the pieces are simply numbered, alongside the word Aetiology – meaning the cause of a disease. The ‘disease’ in question could arguably be society’s views and norms, a person’s narcissistic tendencies, or the mangled look of a face due to the heavy pursuit of plastic surgery, something which is illustrated quite literally through the curation of Manski’s pieces.

By using found objects, human material and animals bones, Manski’s work is a collection you will not forget quickly. The final part of the trilogy, Eugenica, will be unveiled in 2015. Using extreme interpretations of Darwinian selection, Manski will explore man’s capacity to destroy himself and others.


Image: Aetiology Unknown 33 from Onania

Jan Manski: POSSESIA is on at the Breese Little gallery until 12th April

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