Holy Shit

Review by TOM CRITES

How does one begin to explain watercolors of naked youths squeezing shit out of a giant sea cucumber to fertilize phallic cacti? In this hallucinatory multi-media collection Reinhard Scheibner doesn't strictly offer any explanation, rather he simply opens up the vaults of repression and desire and evacuates them upon the drafting table. In a therapeutically fetishistic representation of a pure fascination with metropolitan squalor, Scheibner displays a simultaneous fascination and contempt for mankind, sparing not even himself in what literally becomes a sociological and scatological deconstruction. Fecal representations of humanity appear throughout Holy Shit, and whether in rips on the Impressionists and social scenes or with lively turds painted onto home furnishings and molded anthropomorphic feces, Scheibner takes the lowest possible look at society in this aptly titled tome. But it's not all about shit? Other sick wonders herein include self-mutilation, auto-fellatio, darkly expressive nightlife settings, monstrous sexual and scientific experiments, psychedelic microbes, dances of pleasure and death, scenes of cannibalism and racism, and a wide array of sexual activities conducted out of boredom, depravity, or anything other than love. Among the paintings, models, colored drawings, and the like, some particularly striking examples of Scheibner's work are stark black and white, almost cartoon-style, pieces that appear to depict various bad behaviors taking place in colonial Africa. Le Dernier Cri's lovingly silkscreened reproductions faithfully display Scheibner's works in all of their sickly beautiful colors, except in a rare place or two where scanning or registration blur some details unmercifully. A fine and contemporarily warped volume of grotesque realism descended from the likes of Dix and Grosz, Holy Shit is a wonder you really ought to behold. (And hell, in ten years this will be worth at least $200.)
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