Gazing Into the Abyss: Multi-Layered Collages by Alex Eckman-Lawn

portrait of man, vintage

Based in Philadelphia, Alex Eckman-Lawn is an artist who allegedly “lives in the gutter and sleeps in the sewer.” And when he’s not burning his name into the ground and trying to take down the sun, he’s creating fascinating 3D collages. Like dissected books, each collage is an excavated visual narrative, exposing the story and themes that lie behind the cover. Some of his work explores his “fear of the body,” and how the body cages us; hence, the collage images often resonate with death, alienation, and claustrophobia. I can’t help but to think of Nietzsche’s observation of how when you gaze into the abyss, “the abyss will also gaze into thee”; there is a sense that something is looking back from the deepest layer. Such mental rabbit holes—like the ones that Eckman-Lawn has carved out of paper—often lead to enlightening, humorous, and/or terrifying revelations about the nature of existence, so visit his Instagram for more.

man portrait, hole in face

cutout face, vintage portrait

hole in eye, portrait

hole in face, woman portrait

closeup of paper cutouts

skull in face, portrait of woman

paper cutouts

xacto knife, paper portrait

paper collage

Images © Alex Eckman-Lawn