French artist Geneviève Santerre‘s body of work is, well, about the body. Explicitly erotic, her work is shocking and provocative. It speaks to central concerns about women’s bodies and sexuality in general. From human-animal-creature genital hybrid sculptures to bronze cast vaginas to a pair of discharge-soaked underwear hand stitched with the words “shit happens” to a tangled and suspended speculum to a performance piece wherein she wears a Niqab adorned with silicon vaginal molds, Santerre is by no means subtle. Her work is direct and compelling, challenging the viewer with something powerfully resonant yet potentially disturbing. Santerre pushes boundaries, asking us to reflect on recontextualized sexual images.
Santerre explains in her statement, “Belonging to a generation that is supposedly open sexually, I wonder why this jubilation is considered taboo. Despite some improvements since the feminist movement in the 1960’s, contemporary society remains patriarchal and regards women as objects, while frowning upon sexually open women.
Finnish photographer Janne Parviainen‘s mesmerizing light painting photography is created manually, with no post-production alterations or enhancements. This type of photography is created using various light sources like colored strobes, flash lights, light toys, or tools specifically designed for light painting, and manipulated during periods of long exposure. While a photograph is being exposed, it can be used like a canvas with light as a tool for painting or drawing. Parviainen’s photographs are usually figurative and evoke a ghostly surreality that is beautifully startling. Parviainen uses Finnish urban landscapes as his canvas, exploring and transforming these landscapes into scenes with haunting apparitions.
Parviainen: “What interests me most in light painting is the ability to draw in three dimensional space and the possibility to alter the reality without post processing programs. I like to use in my photos different kind of figures such as skeletons and ghostly light creatures. By using these figures I can add more humane stories into my photos and alter the cultural learned feelings they cause in the viewer of the photo. I especially like to use the skeleton figure because of it’s strong pre-learned emotional concept and place it in totally different situations and emotional stages than in which it’s usually seen in popular culture. ”
Berlin-based artist Sebastian Bieniek‘s double-faced girl portraits are a little humorous, but they also provoke a more menacing or unsettling feeling. With an eye pencil and lipstick, Bieniek draws a face onto each side of the model’s face, using one real eye for each face. After her hair has been strategically placed around her face, Bieniek photographs this subject in the context of daily routines, thoughtfully using objects that appear in everyday environments. For this series as well as his other work, Bieniek enjoys creating a narrative that contains absurd elements and surprises viewers. Junk Culture notes, ”Bieniek first came up with the idea one morning while playing in the bathroom with his son. He explains, ‘Wet hair covered one of his eyes, soap covered his ear, he looked in the mirror and said, dad look my face moved!’” This creates a manufactured or mannequin like image, with a hint of humanity evoked with one eye.
Bieniek enjoys engaging and provoking responses from his viewers, something his Facebook page of 54,000 fans attests to. He notes, ”Art will be consumed differently, the market is constantly changing. Nearly every day, I make an artwork and post it on Facebook. You no longer have to see art in a gallery or see the original.” (via design boom)
Zim & Zou are a French design studio created by Thibault Zimmermann and Lucie Thomas. In addition to paper sculptures, they also explore graphic design, illustration, and installation work. Rather than use a computer, the duo prefer to use paper to design and sculpt many of their images before photographing them. From a series entitled “Back to Basics,” these brightly sculpted electronic devices represent 80s and 90s nostalgia and employ color schemes that remind me of the Nickelodeon shows I grew up watching. Each item is meticulously sculpted to real-life size and shape dimensions and includes thoughtful details that give the appearance of full functionality. The use of paper to recreate outdated technological objects also confronts the current modern tension between print and digital media.
The duo told Don’t Panic, ”…[A]t first sight it’s a tribute to vintage technologies which marked the technological evolution of the last years, and all the nostalgia of the memories that each have with them. By bringing those ‘dead’ objects back to life, we tried to highlight the very fast evolution of our everyday objects. The devices we use nowadays will, in a few years, be considered as relics too. We wanted to ask a question as well: where will this evolution lead us to?
What inspired us personally for this project are the original objects themselves. Every day we use some of those objects, such as the Polaroid camera and we often play Tetris on the original grey Gameboy.”
Their website has a gallery full of other paper sculpture designs, including paper birds, food, spaceships, and a Higgs Boson. You can watch a time-lapse video of their construction process here. (via unknown editors)
Kate Clements is artist whose primary focus is kiln-fired glass. These delicate icicly glass crowns are representative of many things: power, decadence, excess, and decorum, but the fragility of their forms undermine the seeming permanence of this status symbol. There’s something fanastical and menacing about these glass sculptures. The mythological associations one encounters upon regarding these crowns inspires a sense of wonder and magic, the consequences of which our old fairy tales can never seem to stop reminding us. Of her work, Clements says:
“I construct decorative, non-functional glass headdresses to initiate a new conversation about narcissistic female adornment. Throughout history the cultural construction of feminine identity has contributed to a persistent desire by women to transcend what nature has given them physically. I believe these gestures of transformation are made selfishly and with pleasure, in hopes to achieve a fantasy. The glass headdresses function as a separation between viewer and ‘wearer.’ This distance enables the ‘wearer’ to be transformed into the fantastical creature; however, this distance is only a counterfeit perfection.
I am interested in women’s attempts to fit popular cultural representation and how often this results in a suspension of their critical self-awareness. How women’s efforts to fulfill these representations can lead to feelings of guilt and the simultaneous assertion of individual power and the creation of a ‘feminine mystique.’ Finally I am interested in the adornments of the celebration of the ‘perfect’ woman. These celebrations can include beauty queens, exotic dancers, and ironically in it’s most extreme manifestation: the bride. ” (via my amp goes to 11)
Created by art director Jonathan Bréchignac, Joe and Nathan is a design studio based in Paris. These incredible carpet drawings were all hand drawn with Bic pencils and pens. Meant to reflect the size of Muslim prayer carpets, these meticulous works are rich in pattern and detail. Inspired by different types of art (French roman, traditional Japanese, native American and Mexican) and also military camouflage and animal patterns, Bréchignac combines these patterns and genres and breathes new meaning to each of these forms while creating something completely new and unique. If you look closely, you can identify a hand drawn QR code in the four corners of each carpet. Each code is related its own page on thecarpet.net. This detail relates the physical form of the carpet to an abstracted and interactive virtual form, adding a whole new dimension to these amazing two dimensional illustrations. (via my amp goes to 11)
These plump and curvy sculptures are the work of Chinese artist Mu Boyan. Using a variety of materials, Boyan’s sumo wrestler sized figures are sculpted into contexts that make use of the space and density of the large bodies. The rolls of fatty tissue are shiny and smooth, the positions of the bodies graceful and balanced, though almost completely consumed by their own densities. Boyan’s figures are vulnerable, and each figure’s bodily placement underscores the vastness of their large forms. The figures’ faces and bodies are soft and playful, almost cherubic, lending a familiar and comfortable feel to the experience of the sculptures, though the figures are placed into vulnerable positions. According to Boyan, this series reflects his exploration and fascination with the depiction of Chinese political symbolism in art. (via exhibition-ism)
Hong Kong’s Society for Community Organization (SoCO) has created this birds-eye-view series of unbelievable pictures documenting some of the poorest living conditions in Hong Kong, one of the richest cities in the world. These cramped spaces, many no bigger than a small bathroom, serve as their inhabitants’ bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and pantries and represent the homes of a growing number of underprivileged Hong Kong inhabitants. One of the most densely populated areas of the world (426 sq mi and a population of seven million), Hong Kong’s high rent costs and public housing waiting lists force many people to live in these incredibly small spaces. These spaces are so cramped with stacks of living essentials that it takes an observant eye to capture everything represented in the photographs. These particular images were taken in the districts of Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City, but is representative of the slums in the city’s 18 regions.
SoCO’s director, Ho Hei Wah, told MailOnline: “Hong Kong is regarded as one of the richest cities in the world. However, lurking beneath this prosperity is great inequality in wealth and a forgotten group of poor people. Hundreds of thousands still live in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles, while the unemployed, new-arrived families from China and children in poverty struggle for survival. SoCO’s underprivileged clients are increasing in numbers – while the city’s wealth continues to accumulate.”
Hong Kong has long been a center of international trade and manufacturing, but in the 1980s, it witnessed a shift from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based industry, which has become the driving force of economic disparity in the region. Since 1997, when China regained control of Hong Kong, it has operated under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems.” This has allowed the city to retain some independence from China, including the retention of a capitalist system that has been widening the gap between the rich and the poor. These photographs document the small-scale density of the lives of individual citizens and families in order to draw attention to the large-scale problem of population density and economic disparity. (via the daily mail)