March 2, 2013
Martin Bladh - DES or Nielsen study
Martin Bladh is a multi-disciplinary Swedish artist (music, performances, drawings, paintings, collages, photography), but in each he's a loyal descendant of artists who put their guts on the table and share them with who wants them. It's visceral in essence, death, flesh and scars are not concepts but reality. Some may think it's trivial in substance, I think it's seminal and will still talk to future generations when most of today mainstream or conceptual art will be seen as cultural curiosity of a historical period. Like Schiele, Artaud, Brüs, GG Allin or Costes, Bladh is man's questioning (not woman's one) about this prison others called the male body. His blog here. This series is called DES. The explanation is the following: "DES is named after British citizen Dennis Nilsen, known for murdering 15 men between 1978-1983".
Here's the letter he wrote to him (I don't share his fascination for serial killers but my own personal opinion has no interest)
"Dear Mr. Nilsen My name is Martin Bladh, and I’m an artist/art-student living in Norrköping, Sweden, where I’m also working on my master degree. I was stunned by your autobiographic writing, as was presented in Brian Master’s book Killing for Company. I found your life story to be very moving and sometimes disturbingly beautiful. Some of these mental images, which you invoke throughout your text, have stuck with me, and I’m planning to do a conceptual piece based upon them. First of all, I want to point out that I’m not the average serial killer “fan boy”, and I know that you’re not John Wayne Gacy, Henry Lee Lucas or Peter Sutcliffe. Although, serial killers and extreme crimes, have fascinated me since I was a little kid. But in your words and through your life tragedy I find a sensibility, a poetic grief, which is unique. Your case has had a tremendous impact on me… In your notebooks you refer to yourself as the monochrome man, either dark or bright, two extremes… no in between… like in the classic Stevenson drama… There seem to be two opposite agents working at the same time (or simultaneously alongside each other); that of the victim and the executioner; a duality which is of great interest to me. In your own words: “I killed them as I would like to be killed myself… enjoying the extremity of the death act itself. If I did it to others, I could experience the death act over and over again. And: I had always wished to kill but the opportunity never really presented itself in safe conditions… therefore substituted by fantasies which had me killed in the mirrored images. I had been killing this way for years, killing my own image.” Ever since my early childhood I’ve had a compulsive leaning towards what is often referred to as transgression or abjection: deformity, violence, death, the macabre evil etc. And just like you I found shelter in a private fantasy world, and ended up as an individual with narcissistic leanings. But in contrast to you I’ve choose “evil” as my oyster; I’ve never engaged in politics and never tried to change society for the better. I was more akin to ruthless nihilism in the nietzschean spirit; couldn’t never really associate with my fellow men, and therefore chose to expel them from my imaginary world where I always was their superior."