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)
Working in the tradition of landscape painting, South African artist Philip Barlow creates these ethereal, abstracted oil-on-linen paintings that give the illusion of blurry, out-of-focus photographs. The landscapes he paints are often figurative and full of city life, evoking both a familiarity and strangeness. Using this blurred effect, Barlow leaves much to the imagination of the viewer, hinting at forms and shapes and using the play of light and shadow to explore the line between the physical and the spiritual. Barlow notes, “The figures in the landscape serve as carriers and reflectors of the light that falls upon them. Bathed in the luminosity, it is my hope that they would become more beautiful. To me, light is the ultimate subject because it embodies the pinnacle of all reality.” (via Biritim)
Inspired by the work of Sergey Larenkov and Joeri Teeuwisse, who blend historic pictures of war-torn Europe with modern-day views of the same locations, New York City press photographer Marc Hermann has superimposed news photos from the Daily News’ massive archive over photographs of the exact same location, merging past and present. For a large city like New York, the history of events that occur in the same location is layered with much activity. This series, entitled The Daily News – Then and Now, invokes the presence of past lives and activities, asking viewers to remember the layered history that can be found right around the corner in any dense city. Hermann says, “New York is constantly changing and transforming, and tragedies that affected individuals’ lives are forgotten. We may stand on what was once the site of a horrific murder and not even know it, simply because life goes on.” What I find most fascinating is the lingering of details from past to present; particular landscapes, bricks, and staircase banisters that remain virtually unchanged, though the events that have occurred around them have come and gone. (via dangerous minds)
Multidisciplinary artist Jean Jullien, previously featured for his large bird-shaped bar creation, is currently showing his newest collection of work, La Plage, at London’s Beach Gallery until September 29. This collection of images represents Jullien’s conceptual perspective of beach life. The images are simple, with clean shapes and lines, but are telling of a cheeky narrative. These humorous summertime illustrations indicate the sense of unrealized desire, frustration, and absurdity that can occur when you’re seaside. The prints began as illustrations using a brush and paper before Jullien digitally processed them to enhance the colors. An important part of this work for Jullien is his deliberate reduction of black outlines. Jullien explains that the figures he has lined in black tell a story or gag, while the ones without lines indicate something a bit more subtle.
Of the series, Jullien tells Cool Hunting, “I love the beach for how minimal it is; sand, sea, sky and skin. It’s very soft and yet very colorful, so it was important for me to try to explore that graphically…When you think about it, it’s a pretty odd environment in terms of social boundaries,” he observes. “Yet everyone is as free as a bird…I draw a lot on the beach, I love how naked it all gets,”
Curiosity led photographer James Friedman to cut into his collection of golf balls to see what the cores looked like. To his surprise, he discovered that each golf ball contained a unique interiority, revealing elegant formal qualities and inspiring Friedman to become more enthusiastic about the possibilities of abstraction in his photography, especially as a corollary to his documentary work. His series, entitled Interior Design, captures these surprisingly colorful and distinctive golf ball guts, displaying the inner beauty contained within their homogenized white forms. Friedman has been fascinated with photography since he took his first self-portrait at 5 years old. He does not play golf. (via Lost at E Minor)
This short video by French artist Marc-Antoine Lucatelli features dancer Lucas Boirat as he uses his body to manipulate an image of shape-shifting geometric light that is sourced from his hands. The energy behind Boirat’s dancing paired with the abstract energy of light gives this video and these gifs the effect of a push and pull between Boirat and the light. Boirat seems to dance to effect the balance of power between light and shadow, with the light ultimately returning to dust at the hands of Boirat. These modern martial arts inspired dance moves paired with the dreamy experimental music of EdIT create an experience that feels at once primal and futuristic. I find myself completely engrossed with Lucatelli’s video and the way he beautifully captures this stunning power struggle. (via my modern met)
French artist Didier Massard’s photography had me perplexed until I looked more deeply into his process. Massard creates these amazing images by constructing a small detailed set design or dioramas and thoughtfully integrating lighting techniques. What strikes me most about these images is that they at first appear to be paintings or digitally rendered, but closer examination reveals layering and depth that is not possible to create digitally. I read how Massard uses manual techniques to create fabricated sets, but honestly could not believe the entirety of his process until viewing this short video, where he explains his work from his studio. In the video, he also explains how his work is inspired from real and imagined places, places he’d like to visit but realizes the limitations involved in this desire.The subjects of his work vary from nature to mythology to architecture, but all of them evoke a cinematic and magical realist quality.
Massard began working as a commercial photographer for fashion and cosmetic companies, but once he began this meticulously fabricated photography work, he decided to stay focused on this personal project. All of his work is drawn from his own imagination, and he calls each image “the completion of an inner imaginary journey.” Because of the highly skilled and detailed work that goes into each set design and diorama, Massard produces only a few images per year, spending months considering the manipulations for each image. For Massard, his work succeeds when it breaches a border of truth and lies, dream and reality. His work is currently on display at Julie Saul Gallery in New York City until October 19.