Sacha Goldberger‘s done it again, capturing the spark of magic realism in a world similar to his Super Grandma series. This time, his photographs look like snapshots from an alternate super-history: one where Captain America poses for a 17th Flemish painter, the Hulk is super fancy, and Wolverine struggles mightily to dress himself in the morning. The series, called “Super Flemish,” shows a softer side of iconic childhood heroes and villains. Rather than valiant, Batman strikes a contemplative pose; beside him is a stoically dignified Robin. Alice of Wonderland fame seems grown up and wiser, perhaps having taken some of her own advice. Hands folded modestly, Wonderwoman looks almost docile.
“The collection demonstrates the use of 17 century techniques counterpointing light and shadow to illustrate nobility and fragility of the super powerful of all times,” reads the artist’s statement. “… The superheroes often live their lives cloaked in anonymity. These portraits give them a chance to ‘fix’ their narcissism denied.”
Goldberger’s photo series reframes modern heroes in a way that’s almost mundane but still removed enough by a handful of centuries so as to seem magical. Instead of fighting world-eaters and galactic villains, one could imagines them instead taking tea in the garden and brooding over their eighth praline — or whatever it is that’s hip in the county of Flanders.
He also pulls back the mask to show something undeniably human. “As science fiction meets history of art,” Goldberger says, “time meets an inexhaustible desire for mythology which is within each of us.”