In a new film from our New York Close Up series, Jes Fan walks the fine line between the beautiful and the grotesque, creating sculptures which simultaneously attract and repulse with their glossy finishes, near-erotic shapes, and use of contested biological materials like testosterone and melanin.
Fascinated by the mechanisms that construct our cultural conceptions of race and gender, Fan’s work subtly challenges viewers to examine some of their most deeply held assumptions. “When you think of beauty in the past, it’s beauty and the sublime,” says Fan. “It has to come with this suspension, this fear. It also meant, in the past, to describe something that was so beautiful that it almost makes you want to puke.”