Karen Knorr’s past work from the 1980’s onwards took as its theme the ideas of power that underlie cultural heritage, playfully challenging the underlying assumptions of fine art collections in academies and museums in Europe through photography and video. Since 2008 her work has taken a new turn and focused its gaze on the upper caste culture of the Rajput in India and its relationship to the “other” through the use of photography, video and performance. The photographic series considers men’s space (mardana) and women’s space (zanana) in Mughal and Rajput palace architecture, havelis and mausoleums through large format digital photography.
Karen Knorr celebrates the rich visual culture, the foundation myths and stories of northern India, focusing on Rajasthan and using sacred and secular sites to consider caste, femininity and its relationship to the animal world. Interiors are painstakingly photographed with a large format Sinar P3 analogue camera and scanned to very high resolution. Live animals are inserted into the architectural sites, fusing high resolution digital with analogue photography. Animals photographed in sanctuaries, zoos and cities inhabit palaces, mausoleums , temples and holy sites, interrogating Indian cultural heritage and rigid hierarchies. Cranes, zebus, langurs, tigers and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion and reinventing the Panchatantra for the 21st century. (via)
Cod.Act’s Pendulum Choir is an original choral piece for 9 A Cappella voices and 18 hydraulic jacks. The choir stands on tilting platforms, constituting a living, sonorous body. That body expresses itself through various physical states. Its plasticity varies at the mercy of its sonority. It varies between abstract sounds, repetitive sounds, and lyrical or narrative sounds. The bodies of the singers and their voices play with and against gravity. They brush and avoid each other creating subtle vocal polyphonies. Or, supported by electronic sounds, they break their cohesion and burst into lyrical flight or fold up into an obsessional and dark ritual. The organ travels from life to death in a robotic allegory where the technological complexity and the lyricism of the moving bodies combine into a work with Promethean accents. (via)
The Street Hands project is the brainchild of Spanish artists Octavi Serra, Mateu Targa, Daniel Llugany and Pau Garcia who created the site specific installations as commentary on Spain’s political and economic climate. The plaster cast hands are placed throughout the city reminding passerby’s that uncertainty, danger and turmoil could be right around the corner unless they do something about it. The result is a poetic and poignant reminder of life’s daily challenges and that our future sometimes is best dealt by our own hands.
Watch a short video about the project as well as the artists in action after the jump. (via)
Inventor and designer Oliver Show belives that there just isn’t enough public seating in Hamburg, Germany. So instead of complaining and whining about it he took it upon himself to come up with a simple solution to one of lifes most annoying problems. With the help of bright colored and inexpensive padded piping Mr.Show created playful seating all around the city using pre-existing structures as support. The result is a fun and playful take on one of a kind urban furniture that makes us think “why didn’t I come up with that.” (via)
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In Cave to the Grave, Wendell Gladstone debuts a new series of paintings that depict the life of a man from his youth through his death. Referencing the allegory of Plato’s cave, the story begins with a boy immersed in darkness and continues to trace the boys’ life after he emerges from behind the curtain. Gladstone uses a collage sensibility by mining ideas and images to create his own fabricated myths. His paint handling is also diverse, a wide range of techniques are employed from very thick geometric hard edge areas, to subtle mists of airbrush, to organic veils of transparent stained color.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Amanda Gorence’s article on Chi Lei.
Red Star Motel is the clever, action-packed series by Beijing photographer Chi Lei, “Chili”, that reads like an unraveling drama brimming with sex, drugs, murder and chaos. Each scene is set in an identical divey Beijing motel room where Chili supplies us with plenty of voyeuristic moments to witness. The images are linked together through subtle visual clues that have been woven throughout, encouraging the viewer to take part and piece together the story.
Art duo Grönlund-Nisunen (Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen) have been working together since 1993. Technology, sound and light are the base materials of their work. The artists examine issues such as space and physical phenomena. Their sophisticated installations often play with the physical laws of nature and explore sound and space in a modest, low-tech manner. Originally trained as architects, their examination of urban/social space and nature still makes up a large part of their work. In addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions, they have also completed major commissions in public spaces.
In their new piece titled Unstable Matter, several thousand steel balls have been placed on a 150 x 150 cm large metal surface, which subtly tilts from one side to the other. Depending on the inclination angle, the balls begin to roll to the lower edges, continually forming changing patterns. The natural sound of the steel balls rolling back and forth creates a zen like sound of waves moving in and out of the ocean, reminding us all that life can be calm at one moment and yet shift at any given moment. (via)
Using salvaged materials Boston based artist collective !ND!V!DUALS create sculptural installations occupied by large-scale or life-size characters and creatures that are influenced by 1990’s cartoons, animations, and film set designs. Creatures and anthropomorphic beasts have been the focus of work as well as an interest in creating environments and transformative art experiences. The narratives are fairly open, but encourage viewers to be transported into the world of there humorous and playful sculptures. (via)