This Dutch Artist’s Warped Archival Photos Are the Break From Reality We Need Right Now

With the state of the world the way it is right now, being present and aware is especially important, but so is finding moments of escape. Some do that through self-care, others through TV binges; for me, it’s been a gravitation towards the strange and surreal, and finding funny little moments of disrupted reality to distract me from actual reality. When I first discovered the Dutch artist Koen Hauser, and his Skulptura series in particular, that’s how I viewed the work — as moments of disrupted reality, primarily in the form of warps and swirls edited into photos of artworks and artifacts taken from old books and museum archives. And I liked it not only because it was weird and disorienting, but because I had rarely seen that kind of digital technique deployed to such beautiful results.

Yet there’s actually more going on in Hauser’s images than just a poetic manipulation of classical sculptures in a confusing digital age. He’s making artifacts look like contemporary art, but he’s also making contemporary art look like artifacts — one piece, for example, being a Viktor and Rolf runway dress rendered as crumbling stone — as well as photographing clay sculptures he himself has made that are based on those artifacts and non-artifacts. There’s even an image below that creates an entirely new “sculpture” out of a photo of an artist sculpting clay. Which is exactly the kind of self-referential bizarreness I really need right now. Check out the full series below.
the_mask Prima_Materia the_Transcendence_of_Hall_32 Mother_and_Child Rubedo diffractio Interbellum la_Métamorphose_de_Lune Rasa Spiritus Study_No3 the_Dance_of_Venus Albedo the_Little_Transcendant Transcendence_No_2 the_skull the_Work Transmutation Whomb_Expanding