Looking: Bullethole

17 Feb

Bullethole, this 15-part photo by Matt Collishaw (courtesy of Saatchi Online) is at once revolting and fascinating. At a colossal 229 x 310cm, it is mounted on light boxes to amplify the work’s saturated colour and macro scale. The unfamiliar sight initially draws the viewer closer, until the mind pieces together what the image actually portrays. It’s at that point that the revulsion kicks in. And for that we love the image even more.

Saatchi says there is a religious beauty in something so abhorrent. I think the beauty comes from a more innate place, in that these works appeal to our most primal instinct of self-preservation, as well as our fascination with death and distruction. Like how we rubberneck when passing car accidents, or secretly stare at the amputee in the local shopping centre.

Amy Stein’s wonderful blog today features Car Crash Studies by Nicolai Howalt (below). These works invoke a similar reaction – the desire to look closer, while being held back by a sense of fear and disgust.

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Posted by on February 17, 2009 in art, looking, photography


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