When it comes to horror, I always thought that it was more effective when brought out in the story by discreet touches, for example by turning mundane elements into tools of complete nightmare. Stephen King perfectly knows how to do that in literature. But horror isn’t confined to fiction; it also has got a place of honor in visual arts. Forget a moment about the terrifying creatures pictured by fantasy artists, which, in the end, seem too unreal to really scare you. No, if you want artworks that haunt you, mess with your brain and make you see the everyday with a paranoid eye, then, the work of Ceren Aksungur, also known as Dolce Paganne, will give you shivers for days.
Based in Antwerp, in Belgium, this young artist has evolved from a feverish symbolism to a nerve-racking minimalism, in appearance more peaceful, but still spreading a ferocious dark humor. The illustrations of Dolce Paganne are seducing you with their milky tints and sensual touches of blood red, releasing sensations of purity and danger at the same time. Indeed, Devil is genuinely in the details, hiding hints of murder, monstrosity and death in the corner of a scene which, at first sight, would look nothing more than ordinary. In the bizarre universe of Ceren, the worm is always in the apple and her artworks seem to be an ode to the surreal charm of sweet decay. Reality is crumbling to give us a glimpse of the chaos of her imagination, and perhaps of Hell, an underworld that Hieronymus Bosch himself wouldn’t deny.
This discreet and sinister transformation doesn’t only appear in everyday’s objects and situations, they also invade bodies, and the next step can only be our own souls. Of course, the art of Dolce Paganne can only question our dark side, our prospect for creative chaos. Because, ultimately, the scariest horror is the mystery that hides inside of all of us, that silent monster, that sweet monster. And she invites us to embrace it and to cherish it.