Fantich & Young: Nature as model. Nature as threat
Brilliantly merging fine art, fashion and design to reflect social hierarchy and the unbalanced competition in a society of winners and losers, East London based artists Mariana Fantich (Ukraine) and Dominic Young (UK), known as Fantich & Young, have created the “pedigree lifestyle brand” Darwinian Voodoo featuring the alpha collection Apex Predator dedicated to “the discerning client with a taste for power and exclusivity.”
With influences from film – Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” or Tobe Hooper’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Salò” or Lindsay Anderson’s “If”, artists Mary Oppenheim and Marcel Duchamp, the arresting collection is mainly inspired, as the name suggests, by Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection – with evolution translated as transformation and descent – while at the same time embracing the supernatural through its ritual related symbols. It is thus focused on the tension between a scientific, biological understanding of reality and the mystical deciphering of existence.
The fine irony of bringing together two opposite systems of belief results in an unsettling representation of combined Social Darwinism and magic practice in which the ruling elite is invested with immeasurable power as sole predator and supreme leader. The female and male superhumans proudly wear the teeth, bones and hair of those cruelly persecuted in the continuous war on the weak. The military medal ribbons decorating the sculptures in addition to the carefully arranged dentures covering the ready-made materials enforce the idea of conflict and violence. However, the viewer does not witness the horror but the aftermath, which actually becomes appealing through the fashion component of the work generating high desirability and the need to belong to this intangible upper class of tyrant masters.
According to the artists, Darwinian Voodoo was a response to the 2008 financial crisis. The bailout then showed how the 1% rise to be richer and stronger since they are too big to fail, always the game architects and champions, never the target.
Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo | Alpha Female, sculpture, 2014
Materials: Vintage RD29 Adel Rootstein mannequin LS9 classics Simone, ice hockey mask, teeth dentures, human hair, shoes, suit, gloves. Size: 104 x 141 x 132 cm.
Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo | Alpha Empire, sculpture, 2014
Materials: Jimmy Choo Empire black leather ladies high-heeled shoes, teeth dentures. Size: 30 x 20.5 x 11 cm.
Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo | Minx, sculpture, 2014
Materials: Minx vibrator, teeth dentures, human hair, jawbone anatomical model. Size: 33 x 15 x 12 cm.
Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo | Alpha Female Ceremonial Headdress, sculpture, 2014
Materials: Mylec ice hockey goalie mask, dentures, human hair, archery target boss, military medal ribbons, wood, custom made blacksmith metal holders. Size: 138 x 87 x 30 cm.
Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo | Alpha Male, sculpture, 2014
Materials: Vintage RM2 Adel Rootstein mannequin Male Hero R28, Michael Dion penguins ice hockey goalie mask, dentures, human hair, glass eyes, phalanges anatomical bones, shoes, suit, cricket gloves. Size: 108 x 142 x 74 cm.
Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo | American Football, sculpture, 2016
Materials: Wilson NFL Duke game ball, teeth dentures, military medal ribbons. Size: 33 x 18 x 18 cm.
Images © Fantich & Young