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You’re starving. You’re dirty, stripped of all clothing and walking blindfolded in a snow-covered field acned with landmines. You can hear Elvis songs playing softly nearby. A reanimated John F. Kennedy with a pair of women’s breasts for eyes takes off your blindfold and points behind you. Turning, you are met with the Pope crouching in cowboy boots, cock swinging in the cold, dirty wind.
What just happened?
Jason A. Moore – perhaps better known by the pseudonym Nil Ultra – is an artist living and working out of Los Angeles who concocts raw, jarring collages which seem to have an effect similar to the scene described above.
Doing work with collage can be challenging. The artist must essentially form their own pieces by employing various snips and chunks from the work of other people. There is only so much one can manipulate without a piece appearing too cluttered or too bare – resulting in a lack of originality. Nil Ultra’s approach is sparing enough so that it does not create confusion within the audience, but the subject matter and the ways in which he fuses objects together is profound, urgent and unsettling – in the most entrancing way possible.
The perverse and the polite are gnashed together and spit out within the confines of Nil Ultra’s canvas. The human body becomes as malleable as paper to the slice of the scalpel that Moore wields. The incisions and modifications are more precise than the hands of a brain surgeon, and the products of the Frankenstein-esque procedures are horrifying, humorous, beautiful and alarming.
His take on the collage art form hasn’t gone unnoticed: Nil Ultra has created some designs for well-known skateboard companies such as Volcom and Baker, for the clothing line Obey, and even designed some graphics for the seminal 90s alternative band, Smashing Pumpkins.
Moore has had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles as well as in Minneapolis – his work will also be featured in the group exhibition Cut and Paste at the Joy Gallery in San Francisco. More information, as well as compilations of his work can be found at www.nilultra.com. Follow him on Instagram @nilultra for a further dose of the visual onslaught brought about by the disorienting hands of Nil Ultra.
Text by PATRICK LABA