“Oooh, ice cream! Sprinkles! Aw, how fun, they got it all over their … Hey, wait a second. What? Oh dear. Yikes. This is horrifying.” It’s common for the preceding reactionary roller-coaster to take place within a few seconds of viewing the images in Faces 5, a photo series by Ashkan Honarvar. The pictures depict incredibly gruesome facial traumas with incredibly delicious treats, and it’s no surprise that the Iran-born, Norway-based artist had an agenda beyond simply playing with food.
In fact, the brightly hued confections represent something far darker. “The colored candy symbolizes two things,” Honarvar tells Co.Design. “One, the childish naiveté that we have about war and violence; we often forget how fragile the human body actually is. Second, the ‘sweet’ fake propaganda of war. The way we perceive it nowadays is through the television, so in a sense war becomes this ‘fake’ program, made for the masses.” In order to achieve the strangely realistic effects, he used liberal amounts of liquid marshmallow and other desserts on his models. “For the wounds I made real clay forms that were integrated into the photographs later on with Photoshop,” he explains.
Faces 5 is one in a larger series of eight that explore visages in various states of strange and uncomfortable states, all of which are equally difficult to look at and turn away from.