Artist Jan Manski is working on a dark and disturbing trilogy of exhibitions. Possesia is the second of these shows. It’s filled with twisted sculptures, photographs and documentation that will unsettle visitors as they enter Manski’s distorted world.
Old portraits are supplemented with metal instruments, as if to suggest that every part of our lives is being measured, whether we are aware of it or not. It’s a disturbing vision and despite the age of the artefacts on display, it is very relevant to modern society.
Other portraits appear burnt, for example Idol III where a photograph a of muscular man wearing an apron has had its face burnt off. Once noble and proud, he now appears ominous as if the loss of his face has not fazed him or deterred him from his purpose.
Upstairs, a video shows clips of marching soldiers with the music pulsating in time with their footsteps. Scenes of the everyday are interspersed within this footage, but given the context and the soundtrack even the simple beating of clothes appears to be an act of violence and uncontrolled aggression.
The real draw of this show is Manski’s macabre sculptures, including what appears to be the leg of a cyborg and a face with a ram’s horn growing out of it. The most disturbing work sits in a cage — two horse skulls melted together sit atop a suit-clad torso that appears to have melted into the wheelchair it sits upon.
Contemporary art is currently awash with the macabre but Jan Manski has created a compelling dystopian vision in this exhibition that instils an uneasiness in the viewer, making for an evocative visit.
Jan Manski: Possesia is on at Breese Little, 30b Great Sutton Street, EC1V 0DU until 12 April. Entrance is free.