Artist Makes Sculpture of Daria Werbowy: His Work Is A Mindfuck
Swedish artist Anders Krisár has become a full-on New York transplant. His studio on Canal Street is located behind one of those kiosks that sell personalized licensed plates and “I Heart NY” merchandise, and it’s a 5th floor walkup – we were embarrassingly out of breath by the time we got up there. The lanky Swede moved about his light-filled workspace with ease, unencumbered by the many, many stairs. We clearly need to do a Swedish workout.
Krisár greeted us warmly, and had a kind, welcoming manner. His work is beautiful, thought provoking, and honestly, a bit creepy. Our favorite pieces are his sculptures that explore anatomy. They’re extremely detailed and life-like; some show individual limbs, some are sculptures of children that have been neatly cut in half. His studio is filled with half-finished body parts, reminding us of the sinister robot-people lab from Ex Machina. Krisár is clearly a perfectionist; during our visit to his studio, much was made over the sanding of a small toe.
Our favorite work is called “The Birth of Us (Boy).” It’s a disembodied torso, small and frail, clearly from a child, with adult-size handprints pressed into it. To us, they invoke both the beauty of the human form, and the horrors that could be wrought upon that form, although as Krisár told us, he has a different, much lovelier interpretation of his work.
The artist recently made waves with his incredible sculpture of supermodel Daria Werbowy’s lovely face. It covered The Last Magazine’s 15th issue, which was composed entirely without photographs. “Daria as a beauty subject is not new,” said editor-in-chief Magnus Berger. “But to document the imprint of her face like Anders does is something very different. I found it very beautiful on an emotional level. There is something slightly disturbing and calm about it too, which I’m attracted to. I think we ended up with a very unique cover, even though it’s immediately recognizable as a Last Magazine cover.”
We spoke to Krisár to hear about his own perception of his art.
How did you connect with The Last Magazine?
Well Magnus just called me and asked me if I could do a cast of Daria, and of course I was up for it, you know?
What about their aesthetic do you particularly respond to?
I really like the design of their magazine. I was featured in the first magazine, in their first issue. They did a spread on me.
I watched the behind-the-scenes video and the process looked very intensive, covering her face. How long did that take?
It took, maybe, between thirty and forty minutes for her to be covered.
Oh, so not too long. How’d she do?
She did very well. But I think, also, that’s one of the reasons why Magnus chose her. He thought she would really like the idea.
Oh, cool. So, do you work that way with all of your subjects? Covering them in that material?
Yes. Well, for Daria we used silicone and plaster. But depending on what we’re gonna use it for, sometimes we use alginate, which is like a water-based mold-making material.
Your work is so beautiful and so immaculately done, but it feels kind of like there’s this underpinning of violence. Could you tell me a bit about that? How do you connect with those darker themes?
For me, it’s not really dark. It’s more about incompletion. I think most people feel incomplete, and we need to find ways of balancing that through how we live. So, it’s just a matter of fact for me, and I don’t really put the label on it as bad or good—It’s just life, you know?
So, do you feel like that? Do you feel incomplete?
I suppose we all do. Often, when I read about your work, reviewers tend to bring up psychology. Freud gets tossed around a lot when they talk about you—does that inspire you, that sort of thing?
I think it’s interesting for sure, and I think it’s just natural, you know? They just affect us all, those theories.
My favorite piece, and also the most disturbing piece to me, is the torso with the adult handprints. Did that come from any particular childhood experience?
No, not a particular experience.
Well you know it’s funny, because some people see it as a very peaceful piece.
Peaceful? That’s interesting.
They see it as a grown-up protecting the kid. Or even healing it, kind of.
“I think most people feel incomplete, and we need to find ways of balancing that through how we live.”
That’s a much nicer way of looking at it.
You read what’s inside of you in the work. But that’s fine! I see both sides, I think. And that’s what’s interesting about art is that you can project your own emotions on it and get different outputs. That’s what it’s all about.
I hadn’t thought of it before, but I suppose you could take that angle and apply it to all of the work. Like, this boy is dissected, but he’s coming together with another part of himself.
There you go!
This is such a cheesy question, but I really am curious: what is the inspiration behind the boy dissected in half?
All of this comes from my childhood, so that’s the inspiration. I don’t really go out in the world, looking for inspiration. I don’t really understand that concept. I can get inspired just while listening to music or something, but looking outside is not really how I work.
Are all these sculptures of the same boy?
No, it’s all different kids.
Where do you find them?
They’re just friends’ kids, from Sweden.
And you mold their whole bodies? How do they handle it? Do they squirm a lot?
They handle it really well! They move around a bit, but you just have to deal with it. They all want to do it, you know? That’s the first priority. They think it’s fun, and they want to do a good job. If they think that, then it’s good.
Do you show them the finished sculptures?
Oh yeah. They love it.
So the common reaction is excitement?
For sure! I think they feel a sense of pride and completion.
May I ask who the boy is?
It’s a girl actually. But I think it’s funny that you think it’s a boy, because that’s kind of my purpose.
I just assumed! I suppose when people are so young it’s hard to tell.
I like that. For me it’s a person, you know? A human.
And I was reading about how in Sweden they’re not using pronouns for children, so it works!
Ha! Yes, we have that.
So, who’s the girl then?
It’s a friend’s kid.
You like working with children?
Yeah! I think they’re funny.
They are funny!
Sometimes more than grown-ups – they don’t play games, you know?
Check out more of Anders Krisár’s work here.
Images courtesy of The Last Magazine and Anders Krisár