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James Unsworth

James Unsworth grew up in Liverpool with two older brothers who fed him on a diet of Trash Metal, Clive Barker, Stephen King and Video Nasties. This culture stirred in the artist a curiosity about the extremes of the human condition and eventually drew him to London to study fine art at The Royal College of Art. In London Unsworth encountered at first hand many masterpieces of western art including Durer's woodcuts, the Chapman Brother's, ‘Hell' and Francis Bacon's expressionism, as well as London's seamier side of nightclubs, pornographers, transgressives and hot-dog sellers, influences that added to his own wide range of interests, from Japanese Ero-Guro to Suicide Cults, and from Graphic Novels to the Carnivalesque. In the past his artworks have paid homage to the vision of Hieronymus Bosch and the history of popular print.

Set on a university campus the photographs and movies from ‘ I love You Like a Murderer Loves Their Victims' revel in their low budget aesthetic, framed by empty educational spaces that induce a sense of isolation, tension and danger. The scenes are populated by hyper-unreal depictions of murder, sex and dismemberment, comic/horrific figures engaged in acts of disembowelment, degradation and desecration while piles of body parts are splattered with simulated bodily fluids and are gradually engulfed by smoke.
The projection ‘Shithead' features characters occupied in activity beyond the common realm of human behaviors, transgressing natural boundaries and descending into a devolved state of blood lust and self-gratification.
Scenes inspired by the low budget horror movies of his youth, research into homosexual serial killers and the life and death of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell are spliced together into an incoherent orgy of on screen horror.
Minimally displayed in a white cube gallery setting the horror, stench and gore is all in the images allowing the viewer a voyeuristic look into a world of violence and inhumanity.

Unsworth's photographic prints and films are at once horrific and humorous, bodily and bawdy, they embody the true spirit of grotesque.


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2011 Sartorial Contemporary Art