Work on Monday: “Helderste Ster In Montauk” by Nisan Täuschen

Today’s Work on Monday examines the Hungarian art-world sensation Nisan Täuschen and her sunning treatise on the American pop zeitgeist, “Helderste Ster In Montauk,” which features the Montauk lighthouse among the many images twisted into its kaleidoscopic milieu. Täuschen exploded onto the art scene in 2010 with nude portraits of Maya Angelou showered with flowers, but it was her look at the pop music scene through iconic images of Canadian singer Avril Lavigne sleeping that grabbed international attention. “Helderste Ster In Montauk” recently sold for $412,013 through Hungarian auction house and gallery Nagyházi, breaking all previous records in that country.

Work on Monday is a weekly look at one piece of art related to the East End, usually by a Hamptons or North Fork artist, living or dead, created in any kind of media. Join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments below and email suggestions for a future Work on Monday here.

Helderste Ster In Montauk
Nisan Täuschen (Hungary, b. 1987)
Archival ink/mixed media on recycled refuse paper
140 x 95 inches, 2012

This complex and layered piece, both in content and concept, emphasizes the skewed image of Canadian teen idol and pop star Justin Bieber. Filling the upper right portion of Täuschen’s mixed media print, Bieber’s face grounds the overall composition and attracts the viewer to look deeper and begin considering the greater themes at play.

Bieber’s face is repeated in the pattern, which swirls into a vortex-like gyre on the left. It is here Täuschen also adds the phallic Montauk lighthouse, the word “AWESOME” in a horseshoe-like omega shape, and tendrils of barbed wire or thorny vines. It’s easy to see why many critics have made parallels between the spikey, looping lines, Bieber and Jesus Christ, who wore a similar crown of thorns.

It’s also worth noting that the pop star is in the midst of singing live, with headset microphone on, yet his eyes have been obscured by a dynamic bar of neon green that dances for the eye as it repeats, shrinks and rotates throughout the composition.

Known for her love of concept, Täuschen prints and then paints “Helderste Ster In Montauk on thick paper made from recycled refuse, which she imports from Brazilian favelas and grinds down into a pulp by hand before reconstructing the garbage into strong, beautiful paper. Her message is quite clear.

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