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Sexually-Charged Photos Offer a Powerful Statement About Consumerism (NSFW)

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For Homage to Monica Cook, Czech photographers Eliška Kyselková and Katarína Támová envision a consumerist fantasy gone wrong, drawing inspiration from art history to construct nightmarish scenes of gluttony and lust satiated to excess.

In recreating paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Monica Cook as photographs, they elevate each erotic phantasm from the realm of hyperrealism to that of the real, allowing each scenario to exist at the borderland of performance and actual life. Through these uncanny hallucinations, Kyselková and Támová direct our gaze towards an undeniable truth about contemporary society’s fetishization of material objects, of wealth, and of superficiality.

Here, the sensual enters the realm of the divine, and like ancient Greek maenads overtaken by desire and drunkenness, Kyselková and Támová’s subjects become martyrs to pleasure. Ultimately, indulgence turns to violence, leaving its victims stripped, exhausted, and tragically unfulfilled. In holding a mirror to the grotesque in human behavior, the artists also issue a potent warning against the dangers of hedonism.

To foster a sense of inhibition, Kyselková explains, the duo collaborated with friends, classmates, and models they knew previously. Although the project was messy and the studio smelled of thawing octopus, which they had purchased frozen from the grocery store, all eventually surrendered to the chaos of the shoot, permitting each luxuriant, savage moment to unfold organically.

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All images © Eliška Kyselková and Katarína Támová

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