Land on the @theaestheticmediator’s Instagram page and you’ll find a smorgasbord of found images – from cult archive fashion references, contorted limbs, and questionable shoe styles, to footwear going up in flames and heads shaved with obscure designs.
The account’s curator, Alexander Olteanu, is a self-taught artist working on a number of personal projects, of which @theaestheticmediator is just one. The account started as a moodboarding exercise – a space in which the curator was able to join multiple aesthetics – and the criteria when it comes to the images he posts is simple. “The image must be aesthetically true to the account, and must have an idea or story that's worth telling,” explains Olteanu. Using the to share his personal vision and inspirations, Alex describes the account in its current state as “a contrary proposition to that pre-established by society”.
The result is a curated feed of unexpected imagery that’s sometimes uncomfortable to look at. Recent posts have included archival avant-garde fashion, bare and bondage-clad flesh, alternative close-ups of surreal make-up and works by the likes of Tom Sachs, Marina Abramovic, and Salvador Dali. Though most posts are sourced down late night IG rabbit holes, Olteanu also receives requests from designers asking him to share their work. Generally, most are from underground labels that sit on the fringes of mainstream fashion. “I’m fascinated by the last anti-fashion movement because I love clothes that have a philosophy behind them,” says Olteanu. “Nowadays fashion is too fast, it does not take time to assimilate anything.”
Personally, Olteanu is drawn to the the mod subculture of the 60s, the architecture of the 70s, the punk movement of the 80s and the “office aesthetic” of the 90s. When it comes to fashion for personal consumption, he is slightly disenchanted by his surroundings. “I find it hard to find things that I really like. I buy a lot of second-hand clothes,” he explains. “My motto is to dress how you feel without worrying about anything. And to be a little crazy.”