Like an avenger from the dark side of nightmares, the young American artist Neckface slices all things pretty with his devilish scythe. A refined line draws up the contours and contrasts of a fantasy landscape in which death and destruction reigns in beautiful pastels.
Entering Neckface’s universe is like entering a horror chamber. At first glance his exhibition resembles a teenage room. Nostalgia and smiles quickly appear. But at second thought the warm memories and daft grin soon feels wrong. Because the deadly noose clinging to Neckface’s scrawny beings, and the blood that gushes from the chopped off limbs are not only figments of the imagination. These are images that have followed humanity since we first set our sights on this planet. From the inquisitions and witch hunts of the medieval times over the Judas Cradle and Iron Maidens to the world wars in the twentieth century and the prison camps of the twenty-first century in which human cries are lost in a geographic void that literally exists outside laws and regulations.
And how devilish it is then that Neckface is actually very, very funny… But his mission is not to mission. On the contrary. It is allowed to laugh at the unlucky men and women living in Neckface’s world where chaos reigns. Because even though his works evoke unpleasant memories they are also a tribute to the aggressive energy that runs like a violent undercurrent in punk, death metal, the skater scene, horror movies, Edgar Allen Poe and so forth. And of course the arts from minute etchings of the middle ages and voluptuous baroque paintings to the feverish surreal fantasies of Picasso and Max Ernst not to mention today’s Raymond Pettibon, Marcel Dzama and David Shrigley. And – bizarrely also to life as it is. Absurd on the verge of farcical. Unless you’re hanging on the unfortunate side of life, either behind frame or bars.
Neckface was at the tender age of 20 named on of the most interesting artists on the American independent art scene. His gallows humor attracted attention on streets all over the world. His first exhibition, Witch Hunt, opened in 2004 at the seminal and influential New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles. Soon after followed a book on his works, entitled Satans Bride! Most recently Neckface has had solo exhibitions at dpmhi (London), Monster Children (Sydney) and contributed to the important exhibition The Bay Area Now at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Neckface first visited V1 Gallery in 2007 with the solo exhibition Rehearsal for Death.
Curator and culture critic Carlo McCormick has called Neckface: “The most prolific and idiosyncratic street artist working today”.
Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Shobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There’s nothing to be afraid of.