Just like a tree, the spindly branches that shape Sun-Hyuk Kim’s sculptures extend from a larger, sturdy limb—or in the South Korean artist’s case, neck or spine, too. Kim (previously) creates sprawling artworks that merge human anatomy and the root systems that crawl underneath the earth’s surface. Sometimes painted in neutral tones and others plated in gold, the sculptures are composed of stainless steel that trails out into figurative forms.
Imbued with metaphor, the intricate works consider our existence and their inherent incompleteness, Kim says. The “pandemic in 2020 clearly shows how weak the existence of a human being is,” he writes. “The human force encountered in this era, which has achieved many civilizations and cutting-edge science, reminds us of the collapse of the Tower of Babel, which was built to become like God.”
To follow Kim’s latest projects that explore the connection between people and the natural world, head to Instagram.
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Israeli artist Ronit Baranga (previously) embodies voracious appetites by merging anatomical parts, desserts, and serving ware in an evocative ceramic series titled All Things Sweet and Painful. Dextrous fingers balance a plate and manage to swipe a bit of frosting from a cupcake. Whether implanted in a fruity pie or a teacup, gaping mouths clamor for a taste of the pastries and stick their tongues out for a taste.
In a statement, Baranga explains that the surreal series is focused on luxurious foods. “The mixed emotions of need and the insatiable hunger for more – more sugar, more attention, more love. There is a constant push against the boundaries of rational consumption, craving the sugar rush, forever tempted to go overboard,” she says.
Baranga has a number of ongoing and upcoming exhibitions scheduled, including at Munich’s størpunkt through October 31 and the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel-Aviv through 2021. The sumptuous artworks shown here will be on view at Beinart Gallery in Melbourne starting mid-October, and you can browse more of Baranga’s sculptures on Instagram.
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One might learn something from staring at the tattoos of Italian artist Michele Volpi (previously). The composition, detailed dot work, and precise lines of his tattoos transcend both ink-infused skin and science textbooks. The Bologna-based tattoo artist relishes in scientific books—from Frank Netter’s painterly medical illustrations to the exquisitely rendered biological specimens and marine life of Ernst Haeckel. He often visits bookshops during his travels to discover and acquire these new sources of inspiration.
Volpi’s customers seek him out to tattoo an array of botany, astronomy, physiology, and chemistry-based compositions. Sometimes customers let him choose the branch of science, in which case he renders his favorite subject—anatomy. Even then, Volpi combines subject matter like in his tattoo comparing the shape of a human pelvis to that of a butterfly or another that features a human skull being stretched absurdly through a wormhole.
The artist tells Colossal that his “dream is to make a scientific book with all of my conceptual scientific illustrations that I love.” View Volpi’s body of work and booking information on Instagram. For those not ready for the permanence of a tattoo, there are prints of his pen-and-ink, anatomical illustrations available in his shop.
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Being with oneself takes on a literal meaning in the works of Anders Krisár. The Stockholm-based sculptor and photographer focuses on the human body, creating analog casts from live models using silicone and plaster.
A self-taught artist, Krisár uses his own meticulous techniques and methods for creating a finished piece—constantly reworking the casts to a state of simplicity and smoothness. The impeccably smooth contours and precise cuts that he achieves makes each piece look more digitally rendered than created by hand. Krisár shares on his site, “I’m a perfectionist because I have to be. It’s not really a choice. And it’s not a striving for satisfaction. It’s rather to avoid pain.”
He tells Colossal that the most difficult anatomical features to perfect are the hands and fingernails. And it’s through the palms that the complete figures hold onto the other tightly—each side simultaneously pulling the other closer. Krisár’s cloven figures play with the human brain and its craving for visual symmetry. The two halves create a psychological tension—beautiful yet unsettling in their incomplete wholeness.
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For a hypochondriac, any sense of pain or discomfort can be a point of fixation, something specifically known as somatic symptom disorder. This type of obsession inspired paper artist Julie Wilkinson to create a project that would not only distract her from this consuming condition but also bring awareness to an often misunderstood disorder. Her project is aptly titled Manifestation.
Wilkinson told Fubiz that she’s “been hypochondriac for as long as I can remember, and I have always had a fascination with medicine and the psychology related to certain conditions. This project was a way of visualizing the endless cycle that hypochondriacs often find themselves in, where every feeling is magnified, amplified, and where one little ache can turn into multiple symptoms—real or imagined—which take up our thoughts entirely.”
These layered illustrations of anatomical parts in a mandala motif were cut by Wilkinson with none other than a scalpel. The result is a visual expression of somatic symptom disorder—a dizzying array of magnified and multiplied sensations across various interconnected body parts and systems. The mandala is befitting of the meditative and healing nature of the project.
Wilkinson and Joyanne Horscroft make up the transatlantic creative duo behind Makerie Studio. While Wilkinson lives in New York, Horscroft is based in London. Not only are they master paper artists but they’re also set designers, who create imaginative and exquisitely detailed paper sculptures for window displays, events, advertising, and special artistic commissions. They’ve gained the attention of Google, Gucci, Nike, and Victoria’s Secret, to name a few. Wilkinson and Horscroft have developed their own unique paper techniques and are inspired by nature, steampunk mechanicals, and whimsical worlds.
Follow Makerie Studio’s magnificent paper creations and installations on Instagram.
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UK-based embroidery artist Amber Griffiths is riding a wave of anatomical inspiration in her latest designs. Typically inspired by nature, Griffiths tells Colossal that her series kicked off when looking to put a non-traditional spin on the iconic Valentine’s Day heart. “I’m not particularly someone who’s into all the mushy classic love hearts, so I thought the anatomical route would be much more interesting,” Griffiths says. That set off an obsessive exploration of human anatomy through her primary embroidery technique—the punch needle. This method pushes yarn or thread through the fabric while staying on one side, in comparison to normal stitching during which the needle moves in and out of the fibers.
Griffiths finds the ways the organic shapes, layers, and textures fit together endlessly fascinating. While anatomy is an enjoyable yet challenging subject to dive into, she also finds it educational. She spends time researching the particular organ or system, finding at least 20 to 30 reference images before starting. The embroidery artist embellishes her anatomical pieces with various beads and even mimics a fused spine using real metal screws.
Although she learned how to sew at a young age, Griffiths took up embroidery as a way to relax while on holiday break during her final year at university and hasn’t put down the punch needle since. She’s also become a resource for those wanting to try the difficult punch needling technique and shares her process on YouTube.
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