Huffpost Arts

Bloody 'Human' Sculptures Push The Limits Of Grotesque Art

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Have you ever looked at a consumer object and, despite your best efforts, felt an unreasonable urge take over your body? A desire so magnetic you can't help but scream, "I need it!" This powerful attraction, almost like a temporary possession, is the subject of Andrea Hasler's wax installations.

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Burdens of Excess

The Swiss artist taps into the complex relationship between attraction and repulsion, creating a luxury boutique with your typical black floors, glittering walls and glass cases covering the prized goods. Instead of Jimmy Choos or designer clutches, however, Hasler serves up raw, juicy organs, sometimes adorned with a zipper or rhinestone clasp.

Part gaudy and part gory, the fleshy fashion items toy with the things we want, the things we tell ourselves we need, and the things we really need. Hasler's dystopic future envisions a world where organs are the hottest commodity, and not getting what you want is -- for once -- a literal matter of life and death.

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Burdens of Excess

Many viewers have identified Hasler's visceral materials as raw meat or chewed up gum, both of which are incorrect. Hasler crafts her bodily works out of wax, transforming the harmless medium into a repulsive jello mold of Pepto Bismol-colored gunk. With blood oozing out from the base, the fetishized parts induce nausea, but they'll also draw you closer.

The hand-crafted bodily organs not only comment on contemporary culture's obsession with shopping, but also with going under the knife. Hasler added: "The subject matters of both the desire for luxury items as well as the darker side of plastic surgery’s intestine-liposuction filled accessories are synonymous with what Hollywood glamour represents for me in order to be accepted, to be part of the 'tribe.'"

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Embrace the Base, Matriarch

In one of Hasler's goriest installations, "Embrace the Base" pictured above, the artist turns from consumerism to a starkly different subject matter -- nuclear warfare. The body of work centers around the history of the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, a 1980s protest site devoted to challenging nuclear weapons. Halser reworks the idea of tents -- a staple at the camp -- attempting to "humanize" the structures with her signature fleshy aesthetic. The project pointedly addresses the overwhelming fear of the Greenham Common era, of what nuclear weapons could do to the human body.

Whether addressing our culture's collective shopping problem or the potential dangers of nuclear weapons, Hasler taps into a visual realm that makes the viewer lose control. See Hasler's gorgeously grotesque works below and feel the odd sensation of being viscerally attracted and repelled, hungry and nauseated, intrigued and repulsed, all at the same time. As if you needed further warning, this art is not for the squeamish.

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Embrace the Base, Matriarch

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Burdens of Excess

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Burdens of Excess

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Embrace the Base

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Embrace the Base, Irreducible Complexity

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Irreducible Complexity, Dual Act

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Irreducible Complexity, Solo Act

Andrea Hasler Commission Greenham Common, Episode 3 ( last in series!) from Andrea Hasler on Vimeo.

Correction: A previous edition of this article misidentified the artist as Swedish. We regret the error.