For the last few years, Japanese artist Jun Kitagawa has installed large zippers in public spaces. Sometimes they are painted on the wall, but more often and impressively, they are placed as sculptures in the middle of rooms and in public ponds. There, the ground looks as though it’s opening up and going to swallow you whole. Kitagawa has fashioned larger-than-life zippers, complete with his name on it (akin to the popular manufacturer YKK). Between the giant zipper’s teeth you can see what’s below, like wooden beams or most of the time, a dark void.
Kitagawa’s work plays into the wonder we have of what lies beneath the surface, and is a metaphor for making light of the unknown. The giant zipper reveals what can’t easily be seen, and what we often wish that we could. Even if the zipper is “open,” many times the artist fills it with nothing, saying that the truth or reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. (Via Colossal)
French photographer Pascal Pierrou takes interest in creating the ultimate ‘modern girl’ photo catalogue. Pierrou, a fashion photographer, is interested in showcasing alternative ‘feminine beauty’, the type that we are not really used to seeing in popular television or mass-produced advertisements. He primarily focuses on girls with short hair/no hair, tattoos, and piercings. While these women’s looks are not uncommon per se, Pierrou is looking to create a fashion-like photoshoot that shows off these women in a way that is uncommon and unexpected. For instance, his way of pairing a naked woman with a sword tells us that he is looking to show off a double-sided profile, one that shows off a rough edge, and another that features the soft lines of a slender and feminine naked body.
This idea of rough and soft lines is somewhat of a pattern amongst the photos on this series. These characteristics are indicative of what Pierrou thinks about today’s modern girl- often times, a woman that carries a powerful and tough, but ultimately soft appearance and character.
His inspiration for the series was Andy Warhols ‘Factory’ which was popular in the 60s in New York. Pierrou imagined people of a new factory, free women, feminists, artists that would exhibit their skin, hair, tattoos and words without being ashamed.
Artist Gary Hovey constructs shiny animal sculptures by welding stainless steel utensils. Hovey uses the initial shape of the particular piece of cutlery - the curves of spoons, the spikeyness of forks, or the flatness of knives - to inform the overall form of the animal he is crafting. Each piece is unique – no molds are used to help shape his work. The most astounding part of Hovey’s work is that the artist has struggled with the effects of Parkinson’s disease since he was diagnosed in 1994. Since 2004, he has been welding flatware, and he finds producing and showing this work to be therapeutic. “I work when I’m able to move. Family and friends carry sculptures for me. But I still get to make them,” says Hovey. “I don’t think the quality has suffered, but it does take longer to make them. It helps financially support my family and it is therapy for me. It has allowed me to meet many wonderful people.” (via my modern met)
For your consideration: a $500,000 ring mounted with a tanned sliver of hairy human skin. The piece, titled the Forget Me Knot ring, is the creation of boundary-pushing Icelandic fashion and jewelry designer Sruli Recht. For these one-of-a-kind works of art, Recht had a 110 by 10 millimeter a strip of his skin surgically removed from his abdomen; the artist then salted it, tanned it, and embedded it on a gold ring.
The work, though grisly, carries with it a raw sexual potency. Its title refers, of course, to marriage, or “tying the knot;” in this way, the piece is unabashedly intimate, tying literal bodily fleshiness with the idea of love and intimacy. The ring’s beauty lies in its refusal to be pretty; its hairy, gray, and it’s gruesome physicality operates as a strangely comforting promise that two people might become “one flesh.”
The medicinal and scientific references of the rings strangely reinforce this idea of devotion. Complicating the relationship between jeweler and client, the ring comes with a certificate of authenticity, providing DNA validation that the slash is in fact the artist’s, and a DVD graphically documenting the making of the ring, including the surgical removal of flesh. With these items, Recht creates a personal catalog of both his molecular and artistic existence, offering himself to a potential wearer in uncomfortable yet touching ways.
Recht’s other rings, composed of rare black diamonds and other precious stones, remain authentic to his gritty, viscerally demanding aesthetic. Take a look, and let us know what you think! (via Oddity Central)
The work of artist Caroline Attan examines how objects form a part of our memory and personal history and identity. By combining hand-written text with delicately folded, colored paper installations, Attan plays with separate ideas of poetry, text and form, each “that function as loaded repositories of the past.”
Installed with text written directly onto the wall and the origami-like paper notes arranged in circular patterns, the results are visually reminiscent of mandalas (which represent wholeness, inter-connectivity and an organized cosmic diagram) or the sacred geometry found in Islamic art, Attan illustrates poetic language, and at the same time, brings attention back to the beauty of the words.
Says the artist, “Tantalizing snatches of memories and desire revolve endlessly over collaged backgrounds, encouraging the viewer along multiple strands of thought. The technique allows for ingenuity and flexibility. Some compositions disrupt or loudly announce their text or subtexts, while others absorb them into a calm coherent whole.” (via myampgoesto11)
The always-colorful work by Erin Rachel Hudak has the distinct ability to seduce with its bright and vibrant appearance. Hudak consistently produces work that looks happy and exudes love. The attraction, while complete, can be somewhat misleading, and upon closer inspection Hudak has often encoded a message, lesson, or suggestion hidden within the colorful work.
“Love You Forever,” a temporary installation in both New York and Idaho, included mylar balloons. An adoring public service announcement in both locals, the installations became celebrated destinations. However, despite the message of everlasting adulation, the installations were completely fleeting. On the one hand the works were romantic and beautiful gestures, or from another perspective they were impossible promises.
Often Hudak entertains such distinctions, juxtapositions and opposites—using the way ideas are defined by separation from other ideas. The concept is almost always referencing, or completed by, the viewer. Her outdoor installation-to-be at Paul Artspace in St. Louis involves a mirrored sculpture that reads “You Are My Reflection,” involving the viewer in a process of self-analysis. Combined with a rich visual vocabulary involving metaphors and language, Hudak’s works are always highly symbolic.
Catch her latest installation at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show taking place this weekend in New York. ”Waterfall Wall” installed in the stairway of the SPRING/BREAK space is a cascading barrage of color and reflective surface. It is the visual manifestation of Hudak’s observations about power, freedom, access and restriction.
Architectural photographer Trent Bell takes a different turn in his career to create ‘Reflect’, a poignant series of photographs that feature long-time prisoners and the handwritten letters they’ve written to their younger selves.
Inspired by a close friend of Bells’ whom was sentenced to 36 years in jail, ‘Reflect’ looks beyond the prisoner’s stigma of a past life of crime and instead zooms into a rather positive yet heartbreaking side of their story- one that starts with bad decisions but follows with deep regret, hope, and wishful thinking.
By superimposing the prisoners’ portraits on top of their handwritten letters, Bell creates an instant dual portrait, a visual image that portrays both their current physical being, and the state of their inner selves – a side of them that shows us how much they wished they would’ve made the right decision in their younger years.
“Our band choices can contain untold loss, remorse, and regret [...] but the positive value of these bad choices might be immeasurable if we can face them, admit to them, learn from them and find the strength to share.”
In artist Reiner Hansen’s series Facial Fallout, she paints self portraits that each depict a different persona. In some, she plays a character, like a reality star or the girl next door. In others, it’s another version of who she already is, but with a different hair style, skin sunburnt, and more. All of these are a departure of her true identity, which itself is fleeting and malleable based on who she was trying to be. Hansen explains:
Each is based on, or rather mapped onto, my own features and characteristics. My self image is re-conceived as these other women, who live in a world entirely different from my own. There is a process of transformation into involuntarily ‘stereotyped’ notions of who these people are or might be, a sort of method acting in painted form, leaving a history of performance in each image. Simultaneously a game that is playful as well as a meditative speculation on a fabricated ‘other life’, these images are partly about investigating the idea of ‘escape,’ not just away from ‘the self’ and into anonymity, but also away from the art historical traditions of the self portrait and its established practice of depicting the artist. Instead, concealing my self behind imagined personas, I attempt to escape identification.
These portraits are humorous, and part of the joy of looking at Hansen’s work is finding glimpses of her true self within all of these paintings.