Mesmerizing Metal Sculptures of Disintegrating People Visualizes the Ephemerality of Beauty and Life

South Africa-based artist Regardt Van Der Meulen transforms metal into seemingly fragile and delicate works of art. His lifesize sculptures depict human figures that appear to be eroding before the viewer’s eyes. The durable material unwinds, crumbles, and disintegrates from the body, capturing the ephemerality of life.

Each of these works portrays a figure that is falling apart. While part of the body is rendered intact and seemingly “correct,” a larger portion is intentionally sculpted in such a way that it looks as though the body is deteriorating. The method in which the figures are decaying varies—at times, resembling threads that are coming undone and others appearing more like torn paper—but they all share a similar melancholy with their fate. When Van Der Meulen leaves the face of the sculptures intact, they seem to be at peace with death, even wearing serene expressions.

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