Michael Kvium (1955-), Choir, 1991
Michael Kvium’s human figures almost seem to transcend (or transgress against) humanity. They are often deformed, amputated, hideously conjoined or lost within a demonic madness, their existence reduced to bodily evacuations or a boundless mental and physical helplessness.
Similarity between the artist and the paintings' figures
The characters’ androgynous, hairless heads often have a certain similarity to the artist’s own features, and one senses a solidarity with these revolting creatures that appear before us as if in a thrilling – both frightening and appealing – freak show.
A horrific choir
Here, five figures form a horrific choir, part-singing the horrors of the world and the failure of humanity for all to hear. They are united in a fellowship that is obviously the result of a barbaric surgical procedure rather than based on reciprocal human relations.
The painted frame
The painted frame surrounding the scene is made up of muddy bands of brain tissue or maybe contorted entrails. At each corner, a brain turns around its own axis in a macabre globe device.
Perhaps Kvium’s intentions with his horrifying tableaux is to direct our attention to the prospects for the future with its growing cultural amputation and the potential horrors offered by modern gene technology and plastic surgery.