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Out of Context, Freaky Self-Portraiture Barely Looks Human

Hungarian photographer Borbála Földes abstracts her own body until it is nearly unrecognizable.

Andrew Nunes

Everything but the “self” comes out in the self-portraiture of Hungarian photographer Borbála Földes. Although her black and white images are made almost exclusively with her own body, any sense of individual identity is placed on the backburner in these visually abstract, corporeal works, acting almost like a critique of our selfie and branding-centric culture.

Exploring the formal properties of the human body, the artist’s works almost recall Robert Mapplethorpe’s nudes or Asger Carlsen's digitally manipulated bodily constructs. But Földes pushes and warps the limits of bodily abstraction into something entirely different than Mapplethorpe or Carlsen. Morphing her body until it is unrecognizable and inhuman, Földes leaves no room for judgements based on her physical qualities, an otherwise unavoidable societal construct we enact when viewing another person.

In her photographs, Földes' body becomes a raw material more like the paint of a painter than the socially-inflected body of a human. A slithering tongue lunges out of a gaping hole of a mouth, like a snake emerging from the desert floor. An extended neck leading to a tilted had looks more like an architectural shot than an anatomical one. Angular shots of the artist’s body seem almost alien, through its bony protrusions and complex contortions. Almost like a bodily alchemy of sorts, all sense of humanity is lost.

Coincidentally, the process Földes undergoes to make these images is almost like an out-of-body experience: “When I look through the camera, I always become an outsider,” the artist tells The Creators Project. “It’s not even my body anymore, just shapes, textures and shadows. In the meantime, I let the viewer come close and see the ‘pure’ me.”

“It’s a great adventure to explore human bodies,” she adds. “My work is mostly about exploring the realism of these forms and figures, and also an attempt to find something hidden in them.”

To see more of Borbála Földes abstract and exploratory self-portraiture, visit her website or her Instagram page.

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