Haunting and provocative, “Ghosts” South African artist Ralph Ziman’s recent photography exhibition addresses the international arms trade. The series features 200 beaded gun and ammunition sculptures created by 6 Zimbabwean artisans who were commissioned by Ziman. The sculptures are made from traditional African beads and wire and are replicas of AK-47s and general purpose machine guns (GPMGs). The artists are also the subjects of Ziman’s photographs, alongside some construction workers, and a member of the South African Police Services who just wanted his picture taken. The idea for the project began as a series of murals in Venice that were a response to the international arms trade and Africa. The result is a powerful representation of the intimate relationship between Africa and arms trading.
“In bringing his exhibit to the US, ‘the world’s biggest arms exporter,’ Ziman goes some way to redirecting the one directional flow of the arms trade, inviting viewers to consider the original source of the guns on display.” “Ghosts” features the gun sculptures, installations, and photographs, and is on display from February 8 through March 2 at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Los Angeles. (via hi fructose and okay africa)
Cornelia Hediger‘s series of “Doppelgänger” portraits portray contrasting aspects of her self, creating suspenseful and awkward narratives. For this series, Hediger shoots single images in the same environment and composes them in a grid. Her style of composition allows for the distortion of sizes in both space and body; the grids she uses to configure these distortions also break up her images, further reflecting the presented fractured sense of self. Hediger prefers to work alone as an artist because of the time and patience it takes to design her set and capture all of the images in just the right positions.
Of her series, Hediger says, “I was interested in exploring the concept of the Doppelgänger in a broader way. Doppelgänger in German means ‘double walker’, it is a ghostly double of a living person, an omen of death and a harbinger of bad luck. The idea of the Doppelgänger also allows me look the alter ego, the conscious mind vs the unconscious mind, inner conflicts, the duality between good and evil and split personalities – the concept gives me plenty of material to think about and work with.” (via this isn’t happiness and feature shoot)
Greek artist Teodosio Sectio Aurea builds amazingly detailed sculptures that cast unassuming shadows. Aurea constructs his work out of metal and wire, bending and shaping them until they are able to cast the perfect shadow. The shadow images he casts range from human figures to recognizable art like da Vinci’s “The Vitruvian Man,” Picasso’s “Guernica,” and Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.” Aurea’s talent lies in his ability to play with light and shadow, to and conceive of a multi-dimensional artwork. The metal sculptures stand alone as captivating artwork, and Aurea’s conception demonstrates multi-faceted beauty that resides within a single object. (via my modern met)
“Godfather of Neon” Chris Bracey is the artist and collector behind London’s God’s Own Junkyard, the world’s largest collection of neon signs, art work, light sculptures, and other reworked, salvaged props. Bracey’s signs and props have appeared in many Hollywood films such as “Blade Runner,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Mona Lisa,” and “Eyes Wide Shut,” to name a very few. After filming’s done on a movie, the signs and props get tossed out, but 25 years ago, Bracey decided to start collecting and storing many of his more iconic creations. In this short film, Bracey explains that his experience of neon is like visual cocaine, an experience of visual addiction. He also claims that he was the first person to create the iconic and oft-used “Girls Girls Girls” sign seen at adult establishments, both in real life and in films.
After he began collecting his discarded film commissions, Bracey says he decided that he should name the collection. “I had this yard with all the stuff in it, and I’ve got loads of sheds with neon signs in, piled up. And I thought, what am I going to call it? And then I read about this book that was about an architect in the 60s who didn’t like urban America because of all the movie signs, petrol stations, gambling casinos, diners on Route 66, and big signs all over the landscape. He said ‘they’re turning God’s own country into God’s own junkyard!’ And I thought, yeah, that’s what I’ve got here. I’ve got all this stuff from God’s own junkyard which is very much like America, with all these signs. I love this stuff so much, I thought if God had a junkyard it would be full up with all this stuff, these neon signs, because I think God would really like all this stuff. It’s really magical to me.” (via unknown editors)
Israeli photographer Dori Caspi has spent 10 years capturing personal and intimate portraits of the Himba African tribe, a tribe that is facing extinction. For this particular series, Caspi traveled to Namibia 15 times and formed a close relationship with the people of the Himba village. This village has been encountering a progressive amount of challenges, including the intrusion of roads upon their land, and the increasingly severe threat of the AIDS epidemic which has the potential to eradicate the village entirely.
“My camera was never used as a tool of anthropological or research-like documentation of the tribes’ way of life, but always as an instrument with which I could express my love for its wonderful people, and my admiration of their inner and physical beauty. They had opened their hearts and huts to me and with time, as we shared deeper and intimate relations, they became my second family.”
Caspi’s most recent project is taking place in Southern Ethiopia, where he is capturing the tribes from the Lower Omo Valley. “In contrary to my intimate relations with the Himba people, here I have to build trust, to create an atmosphere which would allow me to photograph the tribes’ people in a relaxed situation, yet proud and reserved as they naturally are.”
Photographer Jeremy Ayer and graphic designer Julien Mercier have been collaborating on a series of photographs titled “Aude” that feature a nude female exploring, or used as a decoration in, a large mansion. In some of the photographs, the female body appears to be on ornamental display, almost doll-like, and contrasted with some of the other objects on display in the mansion. Despite her nude body, the photographs are shot in such a way as to leave the female figure shrouded in a bit of mystery.
“With her pale skin, her slender body, she represents a certain ideology of beauty, as dictated by contemporary magazines. But paradoxically, the raw image remains in a direct visual language, not constrained by any commercial obligations. There is no digital manipulation which would withdraw all of her natural eroticism. In the same process, the statues whth their perfectly carved silouhettes, oppose with her curves left intact. The brutal and frontal lighting, exposes here entire body. But always fleeting, she remains inaccessible to the viewer, out of reach, in height.” (via ignant)
Using the natural shapes and contours of the body, German artist Gisene Marwedel transforms the human body into a living, breathing work of art. Marwedel paints finely detailed images, ranging from animals to landscapes to abstraction. She first learned the art of body painting while in India, where she began painting with henna. This skill evolved into a full-time hobby (she has a day job as a speech therapist). Her work depicts scenes of movement and grace with a hauntingly surreal aesthetic. (via mirror)
Under the name Scorpion Dagger, British artist James Kerr creates digital gif collages, mainly from northern and early Renaissance paintings. Kerr combines this imagery with images from popular culture, resulting in absurd and humorous animations.
“What I hope people feel/experience when they see one of my GIFs is something of both an amused reaction, and that of wanting to look at art differently…I love looking at images and imagining them differently. Essentially, you know that question where people ask ‘What do you see in that painting?’ Well, this is kind of that but expressed through an animated GIF.” (via the daily dot)