A good deal of contemporary art blends characteristics from disparate practices: sculpture and painting, painting and photography, video and installation. However, the work of Alex Schweder is a rare mix. Much of his work is equal parts architecture and performance art. Schweder investigates the way people interact with living spaces, and the way these spaces interact with their occupants. The result is often a playfully surprising structure. Some structures balance or rock depending on the movement of the inhabitants. Other structures are photosensitive, their inhabitants leaving stronger impressions the longer they linger. Regardless of the ‘performance’, his work encourages approaching ideas of the home and its occupants as almost a living relationship.
Cristina De Middel brings a striking beauty to space travel in her series The Afronauts. Her series is based on the aspirations of Edward Makuka Nkoloso – a 1960′s Zambian school teacher who wanted to land his countrymen on the moon before the United States or the Soviet Union. Nkoloso was openly mocked, even by journalists. Through his story, the series’ pleasant imagery gives way to more serious underpinnings. De Middel says:
“The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices.”
The sculptures of Naoko Ito are elegant in their simplicity. Indeed, these pieces are entirely constructed of only two materials: a tree and jars. A limb of a tree is cut into several segments and each segment, in turn, is placed in a jar. Naoko carefully arranges the jarred pieces to reconstruct the shape of the limb. A subdued commentary on the relationship between humans and nature, the imagery is immediate all the same. Though the shape and size of the tree limb is intact, the jarred branches are nearly gloomy.
These aren’t photos of bisected buildings. Rather, they’re the carefully constructed dioramas of artist Marc Giai-Miniet. His little libraries inhabit multi-storied buildings, perfectly suitable for us bookish nerds. However, many of his pieces almost seem to be hiding something sinister. The floors become darker, dirtier, more utilitarian the deeper they are in the building. Soot stained boiler rooms occupy the basement floors along with objects long forgotten. Perhaps the entire structure is a metaphor for the mind in a way: the diligent ego among the book lined floors and the unconscious hidden down in the dingy cellar.
Under the typical gallery bright lights these sculptures from artist Diet Wiegman may seem like innocuous piles of trash. However, these ‘piles’ are meticulously arranged and precisely lit. The resulting shadows resemble famous works of art, icons, and images. He creates coveted works of art through refuse in something as elusive as a shadow. Though various types of ‘light sculptures’ have made their way through art in the past few years, Wiegman is a veteran. He has been using shadows and light as a medium for nearly five decades. [via]
Photographer Chistopher Jonassen‘s series Devour seems cosmic in origin. They appear to be photographs of planets mottled by millions of years of meteorite impacts and scarred by geological forces. In reality the series depicts the bottoms of pots. The worn metal is burnt, scratched, and often just old. Devour illustrates the destruction, even violence, inherent in eating and nourishment. On his website Jonassen precedes the series with a quote from philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: “To eat is to appropriate by destruction.”
Matthew DiVito, also known as mr. div, is a motion graphics designer and aspiring game developer. Using a cocktail of software DiVito produces these hypnotic gif images. A popular file type in the 1990′s, gifs are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. DiVito’s images certainly retain a retro sensibility. However, gone are the blocky appearance and wonky movement typical of the first wave of gifs. His work has a certain cosmic precision and elegance making each file slightly mesmerizing.
Photographer Ana Oliveira‘s Identities II is a touching series of portraits. She begins with old photographs of her subjects and through similar lighting, clothing, and poses she creates a parallel photograph. As much as sixty years lies between some of the older and newer portraits. The two portraits arranged side by side become a sort of existential before and after. I find myself imagining what took place in the decades between the two photographs, evidence of something in the now more pronounced lines in each sitters face. Its difficult not to envision expressions of expectation in the younger portraits, and mixtures of disappointment or content in their older counterparts.