“Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on her while unfinished; she was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.” —excerpt from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Daniel Gordon‘s photographs elicit attraction and repulsion. They are irresistibly vibrant and tactile, but also surreal and grotesque. His works are not what they appear to be at first glance. They look like collages, but upon further inspection the photographs reveal themselves to be pictures of sculptures. The female figures in the photographs are cobbled together from found images on the Internet that the artist prints out and constructs into three-dimensional tableaus. The sculptures are photographed and then immediately disassembled so that the artist can use the body parts for new works. The works are made alive and exist only through the act of photography.
In this interview, I was intrigued to learn that Gordon compares himself to Dr. Frankenstein. Without a live muse or model, Gordon creates his own figures to be manipulated and posed. In thinking about the long relationship between (male) artist and (female) muse in art and literature, Gordon has created his own world that balances precariously between the terrifying and beautiful.