Attracted by Supernatural

By Marisol Salanova

It used to be that monsters were the spawn of nightmares but nowadays we can feel a change about it in pop culture, monsters are beautiful and fashionable. There are a lot of movies and tv programs with sexy supernatural characters. The cinematic figures that emerge are deeply riven with the histories of the representations of bodies, psychic pain, ego boungaries, wounds, and articulations. Now the supernatural is also influencing the art world.

 According to the concept of the “aesthetics of the ugly” in contemporary iconography beauty is not a measure of aesthetic merit so the beautiful excludes the ugly no more.

For arts marketers it’s no secret that the engagement models of yesterday are being cast off in favor of fresh, bold ideas closely with the latest trends. They are growing opportunities for weird art, pop surrealism is strong again even in a new better way. Museums, art centers, galleries, collectors and visitors know it and like it because it is exciting and very catchy, it would be foolish to ignore this tendency.

In fact from last year’s Halloween The Getty in Los Angeles offers a free audio tour for kids (and adults too) called “Demons, Angel and Monsters: The Supernatural in Art” which takes kids on a nefarious adventure that explores the creepy beings that can be found in the museum’s permanent collection. This is significant because the museums have assumed that creepy is attractive and we can find references to the supernatural in the art without rigid religious connotations. The issue is not religion as much as aesthetics and which suggests a work that appeals to the existence of a parallel universe or many of them.

Maybe guided by poet Boileau’s idea that “no monster exists that cannot be made pleasing through art” Spanish art collective Rubenimichi has created the painting series which the gallery Espai Tactel exhibited last year in Valencia titled “Sobrenatural”. Their work is focused on an invented, idealized and magical nature interacts with a human being creating a link between an unattainable world of dreams and the everyday reality; extrasensory experiences and disturbing characters hidden among the dense forest. Most of the people are afraid to enter the forest, forest is natural nevertheless it is a maze, a spooky place when gets dark, a magical piece of landscape made by nature for brave people. In this worldview the supernatural world is extremely close to the natural and mankind realms.

Mutant animals, dark selfportraits, hybridizations between humans and forest, this is what we find in a peculiar painting by young artists who gaining more and more importance in international markets because there are some collectors whom love supernatural art representations. To achieve that gloomy and mysterious aura Rubenimichi use acrylic in a particular way, with blurring and contrasting lights and shades, bearing always in mind the Flemish paintings of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Pre-Raphaelites or the Romantic movement by passing our particular way of understanding art and life. Pain flees out ward toward imagination, from the dense matter of bodies to perception itself, presumably disembodied, floating outward.

People have been and will always be attracted by mysteries, surreal places, weird stories… Anyway grotesque images with sinister characters seems could be disturbing the public however that’s not happening. We are aware that for a long time there has been ambivalence towards these issues. It would be nice to think that today’s world has finally accepted that what makes us unique is what makes us beautiful, and that what’s different isn’t necessarily evil or strictly ugly. 

*First time this article was published in Ivorypress magazine Turn On Art.