lucy mcrae + bart hess: lucyandbart.

These pictures make me want to barf… in the good way. The disturbed, electric-skinned, light-headed, border of nausea kind of way. I tried to file these images away and forget them, but they keep slinking their way back into my mind. Into that hard to shake place right behind your eyes where views of car accidents and starving African babies and liposuction operations go. The kind where your conscious mind doesn’t want to be grossed out but the deeper reaches of your brain know that you’ve seen something important, and so you shouldn’t forget it, and so it won’t let you. When you close your eyes, you remember them even more furiously. These are images that challenge you to keep looking at them. In fact, they dare you to turn away…

“Lucyandbart” is a collaboration between artists Lucy McRae and Bart Hess. In it they imagine human bodies and faces physically altered with a shocking but artistic realism. Globules of foam, asymmetric spines… fascinating and repugnant simultaneously, the pictures become even more disturbing because they don’t hint at the emotional state of the subject. Each transformed human looks blankly back at you, neither horrified or surprised or excited about their change of form, but merely present and allowing it to be shown to you. I guess it’s that sort of lucid acceptance, clearly not hiding the kind of imperfections and oddities that society mostly trains us to be ashamed of, that make staring at these “mutants” even more unnerving.

There’s something so primal and immediate about seeing human bodies mutated. It calls into questions all of our ideals about beauty and they way we judge people based on their surfaces. This odd sort of artistic mingling – where the colours are beautiful, but the shapes are grotesque – is really jarring. Or maybe it’s the way they seem to know something about their aberrations that we don’t. Like we’ve yet to have any idea the kind of powers that lie inside their new bodies and hands and faces, and as long as we judge them we never will.

The greater question, are these mutations or evolutions? Are these people improved or impeded? And would we willingly put ourselves into their shoes or chose to remain the same… if we had a choice?

You can check out a great interview with Bart Hess at one of the world’s best modern art sites, We Make Money Not Art. Lucy McRae, amongst other projects, also has a beautiful video detailing her ‘Skin Probe Dress’, in conjunction with Philips Design Probe: wearable creations that “explore the space between the body and the near environment by conceiving dresses that blush and shiver”.

Via Trendhunter


  1. Reblogged this on estherainsbury.

  2. Thank you so much! This work has inspired me to write about it on my blog too, especially about the pantyhose encased model. What a thought-provoking concept!

  3. Sid Lee Montreal had the chance to organize a meet up with Lucy during the 2011 Sid Lee Collective bootcamp. Here ie a video of it:

  4. ludivine says:

    j’adore !

  5. Lucy and Bart may make things using every day materials bought from supermarket- (see quote here)
    But they make everyday materials look extraordinary

  6. Cessierose says:

    I don’t find that any of these pictures invoke an emotion even slightly resembling nausea, nor do I think they can be categorized alongside such real, graphic images like malnourished children.

    It just looks like these two artists went to a craft store and used those materials on the human form.

    I see pom-poms active in the first image, colored bubbles in the subsequent four, cut paper in the third, balloons in the fourth, paper again in the fifth, and stockings/balloons in the sixth.

    The only image here that doesn’t appear entirely kitschy is the fifth image with the black geometric shapes. It’s the only clean photograph out of any of these, and the only one I find particularly thought-provoking or even professional, for that matter.

    Perhaps Lucyandbart would have been more successful if they took a playful approach to very playful materials; the apathetic staring in their photographs isn’t thought-provoking, or new, or even exciting. It’s boring and not fitting of the images or the materials used.

  7. Marianenla says:

    Dios !!! ustedes son (en el lenguaje mas coloquial y criollo venezolano, para alagar) unos fumados en la fotografia los AAAAAAPLAUDO…muy muy bueno el concepto de este trabajo sobre las criticas al “concepto” que tiene la humanidad actulamente sobre la belleza fisca….muy muy bueno….espero seguir viendos sus trabajos….

  8. Marianenla says:

    Dios!!! ustedes son (expresando en el lenguaje mas coloquial y criollo)


  1. […] Lucy McRea and Bart Hess Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. 25 Mar […]

  2. […] me of the amazing genetic mutational imaginings of Lucyandbart, the vid is directed by another artist with experience in visualizing the future.I first discovered […]

  3. […] fan of the body dysmophic works of Lucy McRae and Bart Hess for quite a while now. See past posts here and […]

  4. […] An interesting new concept from Philips. ++ With ‘far-future’ design philosophy, combining business and design beyond the present, Philips has developed a series of dynamic garments as part of its ongoing SKIN exploration research. These sleek and future style garments demonstrate how technology can be incorporated into fashion design, ‘emotionally sensing’ the wearer. Watch videos. […]

  5. […] ++ With ‘far-future’ design philosophy, combining business and design beyond the present, Philips has developed a series of dynamic garments as part of its ongoing SKIN exploration research. These sleek and future style garments demonstrate how technology can be incorporated into fashion design, ‘emotionally sensing’ the wearer. Watch videos. […]

  6. […] you like these shots, then you should check out the body mutation work of Lucyandbart and the unsettling photography of Julia […]

  7. […] from lucyandbart. 11 07 2008 A little while ago I wrote a post after discovering the amazing Lucyandbart. Their experimental images –  combining art, evolution, […]

  8. […] Bart Hess – Future Fur Works from Lucy and Bart, a collaboration is described as an instinctual stalking of fashion, architecture, performance and the body.  They share fascination with genetic manipulation and beauty expression.  More info can be found here and another good post with more information can be found here. […]

  9. […] Lucy McRae and Bart Hess use globules of foam and asymmetric spines to create “fascinating and repugnant” images. Their website is cool, too, of morphing faces excite you. […]

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