The Dark Pantheon & Peculiarities: Viktor Koen


New York-based photographer Viktor Koen has already cemented his distinction and style in art photography, but his oeuvre might rattle the faintest hearts with the twisted beauty of his tintypes of beasts and creatures from Greek mythology, and photogravures of nightmarish children.

© Viktor Koen Medusa; © Viktor Koen Icarus; © Viktor Koen Siren; © Viktor Koen Mormo

Majority of his works are often unsettling, unnerving, defiant of photography's rules of realism. Phantasmagorical they might all be, Koen addresses initial preconceptions with eye-opening surrealism as he blurs the line of his being as photographer and illustrator: a true painter with the camera.

Such prowess with the medium is evident in his "Bestiary", a product of his fascination with the Greek mythos and vintage photographs. The series of tintype images come from a long hunt of portraits in the US Library of Congress, deforming the fantasized ancient temple of heroes, beasts, tragic characters to obscurity.

© Viktor Koen Argus Panoptes

Koen's "Bestiary" separates the single-dimensional character through religious iconography: such as one would see are his portrayals of the monstrous Medusa and Panoptes more humanized; the known ambitious-yet-careless Icarus was given dominance over his wings.

© Viktor Koen Minotaur; © Viktor Koen Erinya; © Viktor Koen Echidna; © Viktor Koen Tithonus

Another grim work from Koen is his series "Tasks & Games: Portraits of the Never Young". The collection consists of 24 photogravures of infants and children, with the original portraits dating from the 19th century. They are fused with contemporary objects, environments and technology that seem to consume them, resulting to horrific portraits.

Macabre fits the series perfectly. There is a prevailing notion of children to be innocent, pure and perfect, untainted by reality, but the series can be interpreted in several ways; a work of psychological fantasy, a Surrealist exercise; a warning about genetic inheritance and technology, two means of influence on people and development in today's culture.

© Viktor Koen Tying Ribbons; © Viktor Koen Eating properly; © Viktor Koen Mistery Bag; © Viktor Koen Tying Ribbons

Look forward to our interview with Viktor Koen soon. In the mean time, visit his website, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook for more of his works. All images used are with permission from Viktor Koen.

written by Ciel Hernandez on 2017-01-29 #people #portrait #portraiture #fantasy #tintype #alternative-photography #art-photography #portrait-photography #photogravure #vitkor-koen

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