Ex Dance, 2009 (detail), plastic skeletons, plaster bandages, acrylic, gouache and plastic glue, variable dimensions, courtesy of the artist and Julie M. Gallery, Tel Aviv, photo: Hilit Kadouri
The grotesque characterizes all of Assi Meshullam‘s works, which deal with different anxieties and the fear of death. In his early works, he achieved this through digital manipulations of his skinny, hairy body - the antithesis of the ideal male body. His self-cloning and distortion reached their apex when he started creating human-animal hybrids. He later went on to create horrific installations which included severed body organs, body parts and sick animals - images meant to repel and disgust, sarcastic allegories of perversion and distortion. All of this reflects a cruel, chaotic and violent world, exposing man's total vulnerability to the seeds of evil contained within himself.
Meshullam‘s work draws heavily on a long tradition of the depiction of horrors - from medieval paintings of the Last Judgment, through Goya's Disasters of War to the work of British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. The work Meshullam has created especially for this exhibition was inspired by medieval representations of the danse macabre prevalent after the Plague - reminders of life's futility. Meshullam's skeletons are embroiled in a bloody and morbid and scene. The grotesque element - distortion and exaggeration - shuffles all familiar orders and brings the abject areas of existence to the fore.
Born in Haifa, 1975; lives and works in Tel Aviv