Through the ages man has been projecting its existential fears on monstrous creatures. Monsters can take on many guises: fallen angels, or hybrid creatures that are either composed of various animal parts, half human/half animal, or – like Frankenstein’s monster – created out of different human body parts. There is often a moral component, for instance when people are punished for their pride and condemned to a tormented existence as a monster. The phenomenon is not necessarily negative: monsters distinguish themselves from regular people and are therefore unique and valuable. At the court of Charles II of Spain, the young Eugenia Martínez Vallejo became famous for her huge size and weight, which earned her the nickname The Monster. Anya Belyat Giunta (1975) made a series of drawings inspired by this courtier.
In response to a 16th century chronicle about a Brazilian tribe of cannibals, Jan Brokof (1977) produced a series of photocollages in which various body parts are combined to form bizarre new creatures. His monsters embody the fear and fascination for the unknown and exotic. Kevin Simón Mancera (1982) is showing a series of detailed pen drawings of hairy humanoid figures with dog’s heads who, like some sort of actors, are impersonating human characteristics – often the artist’s own emotions, fears and desires. Peter Vos (1975) painted a beautiful young woman who is wearing a headscarf decorated with a fearsome dragon. His angular features sharply contrast with the softness of the woman’s face, thereby uniting the beauty and the beast motif in a single person.