If you’re not a fan of insects, you might not want to read this post. But if you’re a fan of naked women outfitted to look like insects, well then by all means, carry on!
Laurent Seroussi, a French artist who works in both Paris and New York City, has created a series of photographs of insect women. In the tradition of Greek mythology, he combines female and bug to create a single entity that somehow looks not like two halves of different entities smooshed together, but like an organic whole.
Seroussi leverages the similarities between the two halves, while managing to avoid the tired “women are like killer spiders” or “women are dangerous/poisonous” clichés that inevitably arise when the two are juxtaposed. If anything, he takes the opposite approach, combining bugs that we would otherwise stomp on or shoo out of our homes with sensual women, most of whom cast rather impenetrable gazes toward the camera, often at oblique angles. When you look closely at their poses, there’s a subtle hint of haughtiness, as though they’re challenging the notion that insects aren’t beautiful. They’re also challenging conventional notions of beauty.
The women in his Photoshopped photographs are sleek and impeccably styled—without the insect garb, they might look more like aliens. Or perhaps they’re a bit of both, like the Buggers/Formics of Ender’s Game. Seroussi is a multimedia artist with backgrounds in video, photography, and graphic design. All three mediums come into play in Insectes, and what he calls “visual tricks and postproduction wizardry.”
Insects have become a popular inspiration for contemporary art, perhaps in part because of their use in science. Artist Mike Libby creates steampunk-inspired robotic beetles, arachnids, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and wasps. While they’re integrated with machinery rather than with human body parts, their artistic merit is undeniable.
Leave it to art to turn science into something visually breathtaking. I’m reminded of a quote by Ray Bradbury, who, in one of the more memorable stories in the Martian Chronicles, described a human with deep appreciation for Martian culture, because “They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is an interpretation of that miracle.”