I had this terrifying dream once where I was arrested and thrown into the prison cell of a small, European jail. The guard was dressed in a cartoonish blue uniform with a badge on his cap and a billy club in his hand. I asked him what sort of punishment I would receive and, pointing to a swirling vortex in the middle of the floor, it was clear that I was doomed to repeat my life over and over again, ceaselessly, and that there would be no escape from the cycle of eternal recurrence. So, I guess I would say that my two biggest fears in life are that and, as Hitchcock famously said, “policemen”.
If you take those intangible neuroses from inside of me and all of the phobias from within everyone and everything and you manifested them physically in the material world, you might get something like Dorry Hsu’s “The Aesthetics of Fear”. Hsu, artist and Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery student at the Royal College of Art in London, has developed a line of wearable art that renders fear harmless and beautiful.
Hsu, in an interview about previous work, stated that she chooses her media based “on the performance of material, which can support the form and structure that I want to achieve.” For this work, she’s chosen a clear SLA resin coated in boiling dye to, according to her site, “[recreate] the objects of reflecting self fears with the bugs of many legs.” The latex not only allows the artist to use expressive coloring, but makes the art more comfortable to wear. Hsu told Dezeen that she was able to design the pieces with the help of a haptic arm, a design tool which gave her the experience of virtually modelling with clay.
And what does the series, which was a finalist in International Talent Support awards this year, really mean? The artist has said, “my collection is about the aesthetic and the attraction of fears. I am [interested in] the concept of masks. In many cultures, people wear masks to scare evil away, so the masks are decorated with the frightening images from the wearer’s fears.” But, as is the case with all art and objects of fear, the meaning is up to you.
Make sure to swing by her site to catch the full collection.