Macabre Anatomica: The Sculpture of Emil Melmoth
Take antiquated anatomical wax models, medical anomalies, Catholic symbolism, and some skulls for good measure – put it all together and the beautiful atrocity you are left with is the sculptural art of Mexican artist Emil Melmoth. Inspired by all things macabre, Melmoth sculpts beautifully horrific writhing forms utilizing a variety of media including clay, metal, and wood, often adorned with nails. Part freak show, part funerary art, his artwork inspires both sympathy and horror.
Gruesome, yet delicately depicted, the posed bodies of his sculptures are reminiscent of cherubs and other iconic figures within Catholicism – graceful, passive, and somber, but with an unsettling growth within them. Cleft palates, extra limbs, and undulating growth expands and passes over the beautifully rendered bodies, all in a state of radiant decay.
“Study of Death” is indicative of his body of work: amputated and conjoined martyrs with rusty nail halos are splayed open in a clinical fashion, displaying a stillborn creature within their unified womb. Death has given birth to a peculiar creature, a silent dog that feast on the carrion of new life; these proud mothers are smiling to remind us of the inevitable triumph of death.
“The smiling mothers hiding the agony of deception, skin folded like curtains are revealing the deathly end. Carrion for flesh, as the essence of life, is only bittersweet bloodmilk, flesh exposing the fragility of our life steps, yet at least they are not alone.”
The common themes of his work circulate around human fragility, with an overtone of bodily imperfection, immortality, and surgical precision. Melmoth’s sculptures span a surreal landscape and personify the grisly, fragile, and powerless facets of life.
To find out more about Emil Melmoth’s artwork and see detail shots of the featured photos, follow his Instagram.