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Björk atopos
Björk, "atopos"

The secret behind Björk’s twisted, otherworldly nails

Get a closer look at the fungi ‘atopos’ manicure as nail artist Sojin Oh shares how she created the look and BTS images

This week, Björk shared the “atopos”, the lead single from her forthcoming “biological techno” album Fossora. Accompanying the single is a music video set in an underground fungal jungle, where Björk, a psychedelic bass clarinet sextet, and Gabber Modus Operandi’s DJ Kasimyn take part in a (literal) underground rave.

Mushrooms take a prominent role in the video, heavily featured in the landscape of the underground rave cave, as well as being a motif for its fashion and beauty. While dressed in a floor-length moss dress, Björk’s make-up by Hungry creates a sense that she has begun to decay in the damp. Meanwhile, Tomihiro Kono provided spectacular colourful wigs for the musician and the sextet. 

Not to be forgotten were the nails that seemed almost alive; the forest floor creatures growing out of Björk’s fingers making it appear as if she had emerged from the nature surrounding her. It will be no surprise that this otherworldly manicure was the work of Sojin Oh, who has become known for her nature-inspired designs which push the boundaries of nail artistry.

“I watched the documentary Fantastic Fungi to get inspired before I started working on the set,” Oh says. Drawing references from the fungi, slime, mould and other creatures of the forest in the documentary, she then used bio seaweed building gel to encapsulate foraged objects and then painted over the top of them. “One of the nails has micro-glass mushrooms from my friend Grace Wardlaw.”

Oh has been a longtime fan of Björk, who, along with deep sea creatures, has served as one of the biggest inspirations in her art. Working with the musician turned out to be just as good as admiring her. “She gave me 100 per cent creative freedom,” says Oh. “Which made me gasp because she’s one of the biggest inspirations to me.”

Oh first emerged into the spotlight as one of the originators of the waterdrop nail trend which sees 3D embellishments that look like delicate droplets of water placed onto the nails. She is not the only one experimenting with texture when it comes to nail art. Tomoya Nakagawa and Taichi Yamane both create abstract sets, with delicate amoeba blobs and galactic shapes, while Lisa Mård’s nail sculptures are both creepy and intriguing, gothy mediaeval futurism from another planet.