Angelo Musco's Millions of Naked, Swirling Bodies Evoke Birth, Transmigration

Using Photoshop, green screens, and lots of naked people, Musco fuses art, humanity and nature.

Mar 9 2013, 10:55pm
Tehom, 2010

Otto Rank, an early psychoanalyst and student of Freud’s, asserted in 1924 that simply being born was a traumatic event—marked, as psychologist Frederick Woolverton summarized it, by “the inevitable, violent, physical and psychic separation we suffer at birth… where the infant moves from a state of perfect harmony and union with the mother into a painful state of separation.”

If that’s true (and who can say, really?) you’ve got to wonder what being stuck in the womb an extra two months will do to a person. Artist Angelo Musco took 11 months to get out, and according to a recent article and photo spread in TIME , the ordeal left the entire right side of his body paralyzed. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Musco developed a fascination with the idea of birth, rebirth and transmigration—themes reflected in the thoroughly compelling art you see here.

“Many of my pieces are the consequence of my experience with birth.” Musco told TIME while discussing the inspiration for his art. Birth represented power, perhaps the most forceful of human experience, he said, so he sought to harness this raw energy in his art.

Xylem, 2011

To create the swirling vortices, webs and naked forests of naked people seen in his images, Musco gathers models from all walks of life into his New York studio and photographs them naked in a multitude of different positions. The models pose in front of a green screen—the way weather forecasters do—so their images can be isolated, then digitally transposed using Photoshop into his work, where each body is layered like an individual brushstroke in vast, swirling compositions. 

Ovum, 2011

Some works contain the images of more than 2 million bodies. “The power of aggregation is the central theme in my work,” Musco told TIME. “This collective work holds all the energy — the happiness, pain, and intensity — of the people involved.”

Check out more of Musco’s work on his artist’s page at Carrie Secrist Gallery

Images courtesy of Carrie Secrist Gallery