We sometimes need to remember that underneath the surgically perfect models displayed in magazines, there are human beings made of flesh and bones, just like us. This is what Spanish artist Fernando Vicente wants us to recall with his ‘Vanitas’ series, directly inspired by popular Fine Art and the latin Memento Mori (remember that you are mortal). Fernando’s experience working as a press Illustrator in renown cultural Spanish publications such as El pais, sees his work combine the techniques of the great masters and vintage press illustrations, while at the same time injecting his own macabre sense of humor into his work.
Fascinated by anatomy, science and cartography, Fernando decided to study femininity in his personal paintings. But he not only strips models from their clothes, exposing their nudity and sometimes their tattoos, he also strips them of their skin. With a funny and morbid discrepancy, he associates posh women extracted from 50’s feminine magazines such as Vogue with equally cold anatomical plates, or sometimes mechanical studies. The bloodcurdling display of muscles, bones and organs such as brains, lungs and hearts is strengthened by the composure of the elegant medicine’s écorchés. Very simple yet beautiful and touching, Fernando’s paintings are also haunting. They question our society’s sexual exposure of women in fashion, similar to a showcase of meat or an autopsy of the intimity, flaying their flesh for the pleasure of consumerism. Fernando goes even further with his latest series, inspired by Boticelli’s Venus. A goddess of love tattooed and skinned alive. Gods, men and medicine’s guinea pigs, we need to find our place. Per chance, art offers us the immortality our entrails cannot.