• 04.20.14

Ads On Acid: See The Warped Beauty Of Posters Disfigured By Chemicals

With “Dissolving Europe,” Berlin-based street artist Vermibus is turning street ads into ghastly masterpieces, with the help of some dangerous chemicals.

The models in high-end fashion ads are meant to be gorgeous decorative vessels on which to display whatever wares are up for sale, and onto which we project our dreams. If you looked at the right bus stop in Europe over the past few months, though, you might have found instead a vessel that looks more like a feral creature out of your nightmares.


Last year, we saw how one French artist was replacing ads with works of art, now another street artist is distorting ads with chemicals to turn them into something new entirely. The Berlin-based Vermibus has created an art project called “Dissolving Europe,” in which he steals ads from their display cases and works them over in various ways back at his studio before returning them for all to see. The last thing anyone who sees the new versions will be thinking about is the product being advertised.

Verminus scrapes away the models’ faces and the brand logos, using a mixture of solvents, warping them into bizarre forms of his own design. He uses chemicals the way a painter paints in order to transform the models’ faces into new forms. The drip lines and blurriness can look like bandages, scar tissue, deformities. In doing so, the artist is able to make a comment on the dehumanizing effects of the advertising he’s appropriating.

Have a deeper look at Vermibus’s work in the slides above and the video below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.