Haunting, Absurd Animated GIFs by Bill Domonkos

Disconcerting: that was the first word that popped into my mind when I saw these animated GIFs by Bill Domonkos. The artist has taken archive photos (and a painting, The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David) and added surreal effects to them. The entire images are left in black and white.

One woman’s portrait has an inhuman hand reaching out from her hair to stroke her neck. In others, the people’s faces have been replaced or covered by strange objects, such as an oscillating fan, an airplane, or a cloud of smoke. In one, a woman’s face is severely distorted as she is blasted from a strange device she is holding (which appears to be a form of quack medicine to begin with). Not all his work is as creepy, though most retains a sense of the absurd. The image where a woman’s face becomes a star field is elegant and mesmerizing.

Domonkos is also an experimental filmmaker, and is based in San Francisco, U.S. “The extraordinary thing about cinema is its ability to suggest the ineffable—something that cannot or should not be expressed in words, only hinted at through sounds and images. It is this elusive, dreamlike quality that informs my work,” he says in his artist’s statement.

Woman with hand - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Woman with star field on her face - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Woman with sinkhole in her chest - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Woman wearing helmet - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Woman with quack medicine device - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Woman with airplane over her face - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Piano player covered in smoke - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Man whose head is a soda pop can - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Man with oscillating fan head - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Death of Marat with spinning chandelier - Animated GIF by Bill Domonkos

Tom is a writer, artist, and multi-media guru from Pennsylvania, U.S. He holds a Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication, but he has also taken several university-level courses in fine arts, art appreciation, graphic design, printmaking, and Asian art. He has been blogging for Monde Mosaic since February 2014.

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