Isabelle Adjani photographed by Jean-François Lepage, 1984.
This is what your shit idols are.
No respect nor tolerance for them.
Crime and art have met many times before the Composites, and one project that I definitely thought about when starting this site was Los Angeles artist Amy Sarkisian's Toy Skull Reconstruction series from the early aughts. Now known for her bedazzled skulls, Sarkisian’s work has always combined folkway craftiness with memento mori narratives. For Toy Skull Reconstruction, Sarkisian took plastic novelty skulls and applied forensic reconstruction techniques to build up the faces of people who were never meant to exist. Here’s Dennis Cooper writing about the sculptures for ArtForum in 2002:
The nauseatingly lifelike, psychologically challenged busts were given heavy metal/goth wigs and collars and placed on looming pedestals draped in Draculean black robes. Lined up firing squad style along one of the gallery’s walls, they gazed with malevolent stupidity at passersby and at the gigantic, album cover–like portrait of themselves (White Queen, 2000) that hung on the opposite wall. The effect—a mixture of embarrassment, pity, disgust, laugh-out-loud amusement, and, finally, head-shaking respect—was so outrageous and unfamiliar that it turned even the world-weariest galleryhoppers into pre-apple Adams and Eves.
Sarkisian’s homely, emotionally bizarre work is the most nagging art I’ve seen of late.
All images: Amy Sarkisian, Toy Skull Reconstructions. 2000-2001