by Michael Carter
Michael Carter lives by himself in a caravan somewhere in Yorkshire. He is a professional carer, a pathological artist and a pornographer. Until just recently, his work has been completely unknown to the world.
Carter’s past is so ingrained within his psyche that it has formed a worldview of almost mythological proportions. Confronting his images for the first time, they give the impression that you are not just looking at a human being, but something extraterrestrial: an entity, bogeyman, something or someone that could incite urban legends or internet hoaxes. There is something so shockingly exceptional about this exposed, scarred, androgynous and emaciated body that we cannot turn away from it.
Carter’s work invokes the Freudian notion of a compulsion to repeat: how an experienced trauma perpetually keeps repeating itself without any visible sign of closure or relief. The working methods become more refined and the medium is improved, yet the same ingrained leitmotifs remain constant: the ambiguous relationship between parent and child, between comfort and abuse; the terror and fascination with being born and giving birth; to be swallowed, to disappear and then to reappear; the uncertainty between titillation and castration; the search for adequate gender identity, a composite persona which encompasses the desired subject and the originator himself; the oscillation between self-love and disgust, and between the victim and the executioner…
When Carter likens his work to the alchemical process, he is not concerned with spiritual gold, the Philosopher’s Stone or Jungian individuation. He remains firmly stuck in the mud of the initial, foul-smelling stage of the Opus and he has no intention of elevating himself above it. His mise-en-scène evokes crime scenes - the site of murders where the bodies are about to be dismembered before the final deposition - but most importantly, this is the Camera Obscura, the dark room, which leaves the artist suspended with his doubles, fears, obsessions and most disturbing desires.
... if abuse is constant then it could be said not to be abuse, merely constant attention, true love, without boundaries, like a slowly tightening noose. — Michael Carter
Edited and annotated by Martin Bladh
Hardcover, 264 pages, 210x280mm
release date 08 / 12 / 23
About the authors
Michael Carter’s work is about obsession, impulsive behaviours and how people express themselves. Experiences and true and false narratives are superimposed upon assumed identities. Carter portrays himself as victim, perpetrator, and is impassive, indifferent and passionate. He explores the body as an object, depersonalised and yet highly personal. His work is repetitive, derivative, driven, thoughtless and only realised with the gift of hindsight, not necessarily from his own perspective.
Martin Bladh is a Swedish-born artist of multiple mediums and co-founder of Infinity Land Press. His work lays bare themes of violence, obsession, fantasy, domination, submission and narcissism. Bladh’s published work includes To Putrefaction, Qualis Artifex Pereo, The Hurtin’ Club, Darkleaks - The Ripper Genome, Marty Page, The Torture of the 100 Pieces, Braquemard: The Clavicle of Gilles de Rais and DES: The Theatre of Death. He lives and works in London.