From Lady Gaga to a butcher in Sydney’s East there seems to be a trend of creating an aura of glamour around slaughter.
After looking at the July issue of Britain’s Dazed and Confused magazine, I noticed a very contentious editorial spread called War Hero.
These images take on the tender topic of wounded soldiers and transgress it into the lens of fashion. It uses scars, graffiti and eerie baby body parts to create disfiguring images that comment on issues of war with an odd aestheticism. Whether or not this is fashion forward or simply tasteless and tactless is up to you to decide, but this is not a first in joining issues of murder and art.
“It’s all about capturing the instant before the fatal blow. No blood, just sheer intense fear and horror,” describes the French news illustrator Angelo di Marco, who creates comics from news stories. He has been doing this ghoulish art form for over 50 years and always thinks of new ways to present his victims.
Take a look below:
Speaking of victims, Lady Gaga’s latest Monster Ball tour caused some distress over in Manchester, where she was slammed for pretending to be murdered onstage. Gaga loves a healthy controversy, and here she had a Gothic-looking, psycho killer come onstage and bite her on the neck (another Vampire trend that I won’t go into) and fake blood spurted down her chest for the song Alejandro.
With the recent shooting sprees in the area, it seems that Gaga should have been given a heads up on the sensitive matter. No other city seemed to have had an issue with her faux violence, so perhaps the Manchester Arena was simply not ready to see murder as a performance, since it was happening for real so close to home.
But back in Sydney a modest meat outlet has been given a $1.5 million make-over by restaurant designer Michael McCann. Customers and bloggers have declared this meat museum as the “Willy Wonka of meat” and a source of local amazement.
You enter the establishment, now called Victor Churchill, by opening a sausage handle door and enter a brightly-lit boutique. When thinking of the layout it’s difficult to keep reminding yourself that it’s a butcher and not a contemporary gallery show.
The cool room is entirely transparent and enclosed in glass, and behind it you see the meat hanging while you watch the butchers work on the meat. They become like a part of a performance on display for the customers, and ooze a confidence in handling their meat. When you leave you’re left with a sense of paltry excess, you just left a butcher shop – a meat outlet preying on the demand for style from the trendy and affluent Eastern Suburbians.
It seems that art attracts us due to its ability to offer access to a forbidden knowledge and free the imagination from the control that stifles it. Murder admired as an art form or presented artistically sends alarm bells to any psychologist, but yet our attitude towards it is rather wide in classification. Public loss of life and torture, in the form of public executions, was once the norm as a type of entertainment, and still is in some parts of the world. Fictionally, the idea of murder is still voyeuristically gaped at. Some of us look at grotesque images with fascination and others, such as myself, look at it from between our fingers that cover our eyes. Just look at Megan Fox on the left in last year’s comic horror Jennifer’s Body, where one of the most beautiful women alive literally eats men that she seduces with her beauty. This combination of beauty and gore is interesting to say the least.
Yet when considering the sensationalism of murder, there’s Aussie artist Nick Cave, whose phrase or almost satanic slogan is ‘I’m down here for your soul...” He sings and writes about murder and idolises certain killers, glorifying their refusal to behave as earthbound citizens. He envies their uninhibited courage to surrender to their obsessions, much like artists with their canvas, but their instruments are knives, guns or nooses.
It seems that this aura of glamourised slaughter as a brutal talent has always been around, and our fascination with it continues to thrive. Perhaps it is because it is the forbidden, but perhaps it is something more...