The Landscape of the Body


Some of my favourite artworks of the present century are the marvellous collages created by the Belgian artist Sammy Slabbinck (featured image for Showtime and Living the High Life). Using found images from magazines dating from the 1950’s to the 1970’s that he collects from flea markets, Slabbinck skilfully re-combines the elements to create wryly humorous, slyly subversive and sometimes unsettling, subtly horrifying works.

Citing influences from Pop Art, Dada and Surrealism, in particular fellow Belgian Surrealist giant Rene Magritte (The Object of the EyeThe Human Condition, Pleasure), Slabbinck’s frequently colour-saturated collages play with size and scale: magnified parts of female bodies form part of a landscape which tiny men journey towards or galaxies are contained within cereal bowls which the perfect 60’s mother and daughter is sitting down at the breakfast table to consume.  The resultant images are startlingly lush with a trippiness that achieves the defamiliarisation that is the aim of all Surrealist art.

Postcards from a Twilight Zone

The Dark Ages
Anna Di Mezza-The Dark Ages 2017

Regulars readers will need no introduction to the wonderful Australian artist Anna Di Mezza, whose uncanny and compelling Surrealistic paintings of a retro parallel dimension have featured many times here (Double TakeQuestions & Answers with Anna Di MezzaEvolution and Transience). 2017 has been a busy and productive year for Anna and I am delighted to showcase her latest postcards from a none too distant Twilight Zone.

As well as experimenting with colour reversals of existing paintings (the subject of a future post), Anna has produced a fine batch of new paintings that expand upon recurring motifs and throw her obsessions into sharp relief. The mysterious crystal formation makes a reappearance in both The Dark Ages, where immaculately coiffed (does anyone do 60’s hairstyles as well as Ms Di Mezza?) ladies participate in an inexplicable séance around the transparent totem, and Eternal. The Messenger sees a return to a vibrant, day-glo Pop Art colour palette with a Futurist handling of motion that makes for a memorably bold image.

The remaining two paintings featured are the startling Blind Privilege and Convenience, with their vivid and visceral representation of cuts of meat. It is hard not to detect a sharp satirical edge in both paintings, especially in the juxtaposition of the witty title of Convenience with the image of the unwinnable (have you ever won? have you ever seen anyone win?) fun-house claw machine dangling over slabs of raw meat while the young girl looks on with an expression of bound to be disappointed anticipation.

Eternal-Anna Di Mezza
Eternal 2017
The Messenger
The Messenger 2017
Blind Privilege
Blind Privilege 2017
Convenience 2017