There is a gruesome fascination that comes from looking at roadkill. The discovery of all that neatly organized viscera so cleverly tucked inside and very vital for everything that is called life — it's as close as most of us will come to seeing an actual dissection.
Nychos, an Austrian graffiti artist, takes dissection one step further. He dissects the "ikons" of our time, reducing their celebrity status to a squishy, visceral reality.
Looking At What's Inside These 'Ikons'
It is not particularly shocking to watch a meltdown of a Terminator; it happens as the end product of every iteration of the series. But to see it up close in the dissolving of synthetic skin and the protruding of blue and red wiring suggests a venous humanity. Add a healthy crop of hair and all too perfect teeth, and you see not just the end of a machine, the end of code, but the associated emotional and spiritual loss that comes from the destruction of this human software.
The same effect is achieved for a melting Barbie that reveals not its wire structure but its projected humanity underneath. The shock comes from seeing that the doll's plastic skeleton, mechanical joints and animatronics are painfully too close to ours. What we are witnessing is not the melting of a doll but the slow dissolve of childhood dreams.
Give the Statue of Liberty visible skeletal features and appropriate organs and her stoic copper consternation becomes an expression of universal sadness for the death of the American Dream.
Dissecting Cartoons And Superheroes
Ironically, dissection becomes a recognition of the mechanical in Nychos' superhero and cartoon subjects.
The dissection of Batman reveals more tightly-knit mechanics than a vibrant humanity. His fight against evil has made him hallow inside.
The same can be said of a dissected Darth Vader. His arterial and venous mass is indistinguishable from the wiring and circuitry that keeps him alive. A dissected Yoda inside is the soft foam puppet manipulated by a SF engineer.
A bouncing Spider-Man remains a very happy dissected exception. It could easily be titled the "Anatomy of Joy."
Graffiti in its ultimate form is an extension of the artistic ego itself. The artist's signature sprayed and over-sprayed, shadowed and pulled back to eternity strives to become a permanent statement for the prominence of art and artistic identity as the main creative force of the universe.
A dissected Elvis still sings, is still the King even as his tongue projectiles beyond itself.
Marilyn is still the fashion icon even when her universal beauty is barely attached by a thread of ligature.
Nychos is showing that real, enduring celebrity status is just an extension of the artistic signature. The heroes and people that last are just the ones that write themselves the best.
Let me know your favorites in the comments section.