Instadeath: Giotto's Tongue

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Instadeath
Giotto's Tongue
Curated by Alex McDonald 


Sam Messer, Giotto's Tongue, 1986


*Curator’s Note: The paintings within this collection were taken by the author to be artwork for the album covers of a fictional metal band called Instadeath. The following is a press release from Instadeath guitarist Tony Koontz on the band’s new album Giotto’s Tongue.

Critics associate Instadeath with rash, judgmental buzzwords like angry, trash, and Satanism. With Giotto’s Tongue, I truly believe that, as a band, we are outgrowing these labels. So let’s go in order.

1) Angry: Okay, you got us. We are angry. I can find no argument against that. Oddly, I am alright with this.

2) Trash: This one I take the most offense to. Metal bands are not trashy, they are down to earth. We tell the truth when others are too scared to. People are disgusting pieces of meat who need to be more in touch with their animalistic nature. We have been trying to show people our opinions on this subject in an educated manner by using famous paintings as artwork for our album covers. Most recently, we have used Sam Messer’s Giotto’s Tongue. This painting may be more obscure than our other choices (which have included such artists as Giotto, Durer, and Titian), but Messer, being an art professor at Yale, holds just as much artistic merit as the ancient masters. Also, Yale. Can anyone argue that’s trashy?

Examine Messer’s Giotto’s Tongue. Here’s a head, whose tongue’s a snake, with its brain hanging out the back. This portrait shows that slab of meat I spoke of earlier. The face screams in agony at its pitiful, natural state. The snake represents the devil inside him. As for the brain, let me explain that in my next point.

3) Satanism: Just to make the point clear, no one in Instadeath worships the Dark Lord… except our drummer, but he’s weird and doesn’t talk much. We use Satan to attract the kids because kids love Satan. Why else would they go to exorcist movies or buy our CDs? Kids outgrow Santa Claus and start believing in Satan. It’s the natural order of things, but recently Satan has not sold as much as he should be. So after much talk and argument from the drummer, we are breaking up with Satan. He’s a fad our fans have outgrown. We are now Nihilists because that’s selling. If you don’t believe me, just look at Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. Nihilism is the new Satanism.

Giotto’s Tongue brings Instadeath’s new nihilism into our album cover. No spiritual entity embodies evil. The serpent in the garden was not Lucifer (or Lilith if you are well-educated). He was not even in the garden. The serpent lies within us. We are evil and all evil in the world originates with us.

Then there’s the matter of the abstract brain. It has an eye painted onto the top of it. This puts the all seeing eye of God within our own minds. Also, notice how the brain stem and skull kind of looks like another face. The self can be found in the mind, not the soul. Then the brown colors surrounding the head represent the nothingness of life. No heavenly light or hellish reds or even blackness; just a brown that represents Earthly dirt, because that’s all that exists. So, say goodbye Satan because we’re nihilists now. We don’t believe in anything.

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