It's impossible to carve the burnt end of a matchstick, right? German installation artist Wolfgang Stiller's current series, "Matchstickmen," is so perfectly realized that for a moment you believe he's done it. Stiller's work actually involves full-sized head molds attached to lengths of square lumber. In an email he explained that he modifies his oversized matchsticks entirely with paint- no fire involved- though you wouldn't believe it looking at them. As for the impression they leave, the spectacle of burnt heads on sticks has an unmistakably political whiff to it- of medieval torture, maybe, or, more recently, self-immolation protests. But alongside those heavy impressions, there's also something playful about what Stiller has done: You half expect those matchsticks, prone in their box, to spring up and yell, "surprise!"
Images courtesy of Wolfgang Stiller.
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