Last night, Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea, NYC opened a group show entitled Détournement : Signs of the Times. The show includes works from some big names including Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Jamie Reid, Steve Powers, and Aiko Nakagawa. “Détournement” refers to the practice of altering the face of public signage to change their respective meanings. From curator Carlo McCormick (editor of PAPER magazine):
Employed brilliantly by the Situationists, whose great philosopher Guy Debord laid out the socio-aesthetic framework for this practice, détournements twist the terms of mimicry in ironic parody using the a semblance of the easily recognizable to dissemble and redirect the literal meaning of signs so as to construe a more honest picture of their deceptive intentions.
A natural response to the lies and coercions we are fed on a daily basis, the détournement has been the reactive impulse of all those who question reality, from the Punks who adopted it in the 1970s through Culture Jammers, Adbusters, contemporary street artists and the winding legacy of protest movements from WTO to Occupy.
More images of works in the show after the jump.
Brookyln based photographer Peter Schafer sent over a few images of a series he’s been working on. Schafer says:
Specifically, it’s a series of screen captures of partially downloaded bit torrent files of webcam porn videos – young women undressing and masturbating, basically. When the files are partially downloaded, impatiently viewed prior to the video file being complete, some strangely beautiful images appear. Capturing the image degradation of video compression and finding beauty in it is a lot like my photography in that you have to catch an image at just the right time, with often the best stuff being unintentional and flawed.
He’s captured some sublime expressions with these. It’s almost as though the girls are posing only for him. The increased pixelation on the images due to their partially downloaded state blurs and distorts the girls to the point where an entirely new context is revealed; one you might create on your own.
Berlin based architect Diébédo Francis Kéré grew up in the west African nation of Burkina Faso. Kéré is the founder of Schulbausteine für Gando, a non-profit organization that provides aid in education, health and infrastructure for Gando, his home village in Burkina Faso. He uses his architecture firm, Kere Architecture, as an agent in his quest to strengthen Gando. Kere Architecture has built office buildings, schools, libraries, and opera houses in Burkina Faso in addition to its many completed projects around the world. Check out this public library in Gando: clay pots, provided by members of the village, are embedded in the library’s ceiling to provide “natural illumination and ventilation”. (via)
Sometimes things are better off being left “unfinished”. There’s more power that way. More raw, sticky, human emotion. Add such a methodology to an almost random selection of media and you have these works from Texas based artist Ckirk, who says he can “paint with anything”. Aerosol, watercolor, coffee, tobacco ash- he’s doing it. The paintings seem to say, “this is who we are, with all our ugliest inclinations completely exposed. Take it or leave it.” Ckirk has a new monograph out entitled “Ckirk Art: I Can Paint With Anything”.
Andrea Petrachi (aka Himatic) creates android-like sculptural figures out of miscellaneous found objects like toys and cameras. They remind me of those creepy doll things that the kid from Toy Story put together, with a little RAMELLZEE “Letter Racer” style thrown in. Petrachi describes his work as a “symbol of our out-of-control desire to buy things”. There definitely is a lot of “stuff” that we go through that just sits around forever after we buy it. In a way, this project gives forgotten items a second life. They’re also cool to look at. Andrea Petrachi is based in Milan. (via)
Nicholas Lockyers’ collage work distorts the human figure in response to out of balance priorities placed on the pursuit of external beauty. Death and Misfortune remain a constant throughout each piece, lending a certain gravity to the fairly familiar aesthetic of “collage culled from vintage illustration archives” which is kind of popular right now. Lockyers definitely has his own thing going on though. His particular selection of imagery is set at a pretty good pitch, and I dig the dark vibes. More snakes, skulls, and bats after the jump.
Cara DeAngelis paints found roadkill in “compositions that both pay homage to, and satirize 17th century Hunting Still Lifes”. “The still lifes and portraits of animals on aristocratic laps explore the long-standing confrontations between the domestic and the wild.” But DeAngelis’ black magic goes a little further than that. The artist, who takes care to incorporate the “Tragic and the Infantile” within her work, includes children’s toys and dolls in her compositions to create an “absurd union“- nostalgia vs. violent death, innocence vs. murder. These paintings are done in oil, which somehow seems appropriate for the heavy concept scale within DeAngelis’ work. Ms. DeAngelis received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2011.
Yuken Teruya skillfully cuts intricate trees and other shapes out of banal, everyday objects like dollar bills, toilet paper rolls, and cereal boxes. The artist completely transforms what usually amounts to trash into delicate, beautiful art. Really makes you reconsider which material objects are “special”. Even the things we constantly overlook are full of creative (and even spiritual) potential. Teruya has a new piece in a recently opened group show at Denver’s David B. Smith Gallery. (via)