Eerie, macabre or monstrous - TDE chooses four alluringly spine-chilling pieces for Halloween week.
AS THE DAYS grow shorter and and leaves wither and fall, many of us enjoy indulging in macabre celebrations of the triumph of darkness over light; death over life. Retreating indoors and within ourselves, telling ghost stories and watching scary movies, we are confronted with our own seemingly contradictory attraction to the things that terrify and repel us.
Succumbing to our fascination with these taboos – which we otherwise refuse to recognise, or explore – we love to be shocked and unsettled. Thankfully, there are many designers, artists and makers who are eager to oblige.
The Design Edit has selected four pieces of design that elicit the kinds of visceral and unsettling emotions that the morbidly curious among us seek at this time of year.
Mattia Bonetti, lantern ‘In The Sky’, 2022
Bonetti is know for creating surprising and often humorous designs, as much works of art as they are utilitarian objects. The sharp stalagmite-like spikes of this lantern, ‘In The Sky’, defy our earthly laws of physics to climb threateningly towards the heavens. They give this piece the appearance of an unholy crown. As the pointed bronze tines encircle and dissect the light source, an eerie dappled glow is emitted.
Lantern ‘In The Sky’ will be on display until 12th November at David Gill Gallery, London.
Agnes Debizet, ‘Chair Entrelace’, 2019
Trypophobes, look away now. In recent years, Debizet’s work has been characterised by the porous textures with which she endows her forms – as well as their uniform, bleached bone-white colour.
In the title of this piece, ‘Chair Entrelacs’, Debizet plays with the meaning of the word ‘chair’, French for ‘flesh’. With this wordplay, as well as the earthenware object’s apparent petrified state of decay, Debizet reminds us of the inevitable acquiescing of organic matter to time.
‘Chair Entrelacs’ is currently on display at Mélissa Paul Gallery.
Aneta Regel, ‘Pien 5’, 2022
Frédéric Bodet, former curator of the Sèvres Museum, described the unsettling effects of Regel’s work in a 2019 essay: “The viewers hesitate between fascination and fear, even disgust.”
These emotions run through Regel’s oeuvre, generated by the artist’s daring use of volcanic rock and clay to create monstrous, alien forms that convulse in their stillness. This particular piece may cause the viewer to question their own powers of perception, not quite trusting the object to remain still once their back is turned.
‘Pien 5’ featured in Sarah Myerscough Gallery’s exhibition at PAD London, 2022, and remains in their collection.
Christophe Côme, ‘Wrought Iron Cabinet’, 2021
To create this piece, Côme started with the raw iron he has worked with for so much of his career, defining and shaping the material into the twisted tendrils that form the cage-like cabinet.
Set between these cold, metal tendrils are the industrial crystal and moulded glass lenses that the artist has carved, melted and incorporated into the piece. Our gaze is drawn in by the intricate forms and mirrored discs, before being trapped behind the cold iron bars. It is as if we were a fly dazzled by a dew-jewelled spider’s web.
‘Wrought Iron Cabinet’ is part of the collection at Cristina Grajales Gallery, New York.