Fall down the rabbit hole and take a walk on the wild side in Olafur Eliasson’s world of psychaledic prisms and dreams. An “Alice in Wonderland” fantasized-like experience of kaleiscope and colorful imagination, testing all your senses. A magical sight of both light and darkness.
His carefully constructed umbrella of mirrors resemble a mysterious and complicated visual spider’s web. A beautiful complexity hard to resist visiting and walking through. Face forward and step. Look up, look down, to your sides and digest the vivid dream that surrounds you. Relax your eyes and allow light to enter your pupils. The tunnels he creates are made out of various pieces and sizes of glass. Walking through must be something like sitting on a rainbow.
Turning around sends you back into the depths of black, as the glass pieces lose their color—showcasing another dimension…. onyx city. His work encourages you to walk through to the other side. Standing dead center might feel like a cross road. A contemplation. A decision. Should I stay? Should I go? Should I continue forward? Should I go back? A moment of mindful reflection stirring up emotion.
When searching for photos of popular tourist destinations, chances are many of these images look the same. Thanks to the now-ubiquitous camera phone, anyone can snap a photo anywhere. So, of course, it’s no surprise that there’s an endless amount of dull images of places like Los Angeles’ “Hollywood” sign or Rome’s Colosseum. Artist Corinne Vionnet recognized this fact years ago and crafted artworks born from banal vacation photos. Her series is titled Photo Opportunities, and it uses at least 100 found photos layered digitally to comprise one cohesive image.
In 2005, Vionnet began searching online for pictures of tourist landmarks around the world, and she observed that most snapshots were of the existing, “stereotypical” imagery of that locale. Vantage points, lighting, visual symmetry – it all looks the same.
Photo Opportunities was recently on view at the Danziger Gallery in New York. They describe Vionnet’s pieces, writing:
Working with multiple images of different monuments, she collates around a hundred appropriated photographs for each of her layered, ethereal compositions. Underneath these beautiful ghost visions is a serious concern with how the persistence of formally repeated photographic compositions affects our cultural and historical awareness.
The Impressionist-quality of these images comment on how we experience and reflect on our environment. Even though the photo feels unique to the picture taker, it is all-too-similar and later lost in the digital ether. (Via Gawker)
Untitled (2005). Abalone, coyote tongue, black mother of pearl, and resin.
Pearl (2005). Rubber coyote tongue, fresh water pearl, and resin.
Tongue Tied 5 (2008). Cast rubber, nickel-plated rings and chains, on wood panel. 11 x 12 x 5.5 inches.
Doublestuff (2004). Clam with mink and raccoon tongue and resin.
E.V. Day is a New York-based installation artist and sculptor who knows how to stimulate the senses while engaging the mind. Recognized for her bold explorations of gender and sexuality, her works ooze with a critically-engaging — and sometimes grotesque — erotic energy. This particular series is an ongoing project that Day began in 2003, and it features intriguing combinations of animal tongues, clamshells, and resin. Drenched and dripping with saliva, muscular tongues extend out of and into open, opalescent clamshells. Some are mounted on walls, with piercings and chains pulling them together; one even incorporates a nylon thong, which has been made to look grossly visceral. Most of the sculptures feature a glistening pearl as a finishing touch.
It goes without saying that the sexual imagery in this series is intensely palpable — the tongues are seen as phallic, and the clamshells and pearls evocative of female genitalia. However, Day’s work goes beyond representing biological sex in a reductionist way, and in fact resists such dualism. As her biography states, her work is aimed at “transform[ing] social stereotypes and playfully illuminat[ing] contradictions of gender roles by re-animating the recognizable into new forms and new meaning” (Source). With tongues and clams, Day has constructed a clever, dark, and almost humorous subversion of the male/female binary by creating abstract hybrid pieces; we identify sexual symbols in her sculptures, but they are fused together, interacting in surprising and unexpected ways that challenge heteronormative representations of sex. The fact that they are animal tongues adds an additional layer of categorical ambiguity and discomfort, but — aside from the initial shock and aversion — the result is a set of artworks that provoke us into reinterpreting the body’s relationship with sex and desire.
Visit Day’s website for a catalogue of her varied and fascinating work. Well-known for her suspended sculptures, other projects include animal skeletons hovering in dynamic poses, and a wedding dress exploding into abstract shards. More tongue-and-clam hybrids after the jump.
The work of Australian photographer Bill Henson is a sensual journey into a dark, sensate, and ephemeral world. He is well-known for traversing and troubling the lines that demarcate time and space, identity, and artistic genre; as stated on the Tolarno Galleries website, he is an “explorer of twilight zones, between nature and civilization, youth and adulthood, male and female. His photographs are painterly tableaux that continue the traditions of romantic literature and painting” (Source). The mottled and dewy skin of his emotionally-rich subjects resembles the classical, artistic technique of chiaroscuro, wherein deep and murky shadows are used to create bold contrasts that illuminate the body in dramatic compositions. Similar to how your peripheral vision dims when you look at something bright in a dark room, the arched backs and turned faces of his models become the semi-obscured focus in his pieces, shrouding them in even more emotive and intangible beauty.
Henson is not without controversy, however. His work received a lot of criticism in 2008 due to complaints of indecency; his accusers deemed his images of nude teenagers as exploitative and inappropriately sexualized. His photographs were seized from exhibitions, and a public debate erupted regarding censorship. Later that year, it was settled. He would not be prosecuted, and the Australian Classification Board declared his work as “mild and justified” (Source).
Henson’s photography may evoke a sense of discomfort in some people, but to others, it resonates as passionate and melancholic portraits of youth. Many of us can probably relate to his imagery — those nights in our early adulthood, where we began to explore the possibilities and materialities of our post-pubescent bodies, connecting to them without shame, becoming self-aware of our own physical beauty, expressivity, and depth. Even his images of two or more models interacting do not seem pornographic; instead, we see people reaching, touching lightly, seeking connection, discovering the quivering electricity of the body when it comes into intimate proximity with others — the power of touch. Such nights and experiences remain forever in our memories. In this way, Henson’s work is less eroticized voyeurism than it is an exploration of our physical and emotional development.
A vast selection of Henson’s work from across the years can be seen at the Tolarno Galleries website, found here. Check out the rest of the dim and sensuous images after the jump, and please let us know how you respond intellectually/critically/emotionally to Henson’s photography in the comments below. (Via Juxtapoz)
A children’s project by Yayoi Kusama has people seeing dots, lots of them. Called The Obliteration Room, the renowned artist known for her sculptures and paintings of dots, decided to have a little fun with the kids. She created an interactive installation geared towards children which asked occupants to enter an all white room and stick the walls and furniture with colorful dots. This allowed participants in essence to make Kusama art. The installation was designed to enable the child part of your brain to run free and create.
Currently displayed at Queensland Art Gallery, the before and after pictures are nothing less than remarkable. In some ways mimicking connect the dots paintings where a gradual buildup occurs, we see how the all-white room is turned into a lively display of dots which turns the stark environment into a colorful painterly mess.
According to Kusama, The Obliteration Room is a place where you empty all your thoughts. The dots become therapeutic, meditative shapes which in Kusama’s case has helped her stay sane. Now at 85, the artist doesn’t keep it a secret that she lives as an outpatient at a mental hospital in Japan. In the 1960′s she was at the forefront of anti-war art demonstrations, in particular protesting the vietnam war. Her work is shown worldwide and is considered one of the more important artists of our time. (via juxtapoz)
In the depths of East London, artist Lucy Sparrow ambitiously converted an abandoned, rundown store into a majestic, playful and fully functional corner shop. The only catch is that every single object in this store, including the cash register and the functional pricing gun, is made out of felt! Everything has been stitched and created by Sparrow herself out of nothing but felt, thread, and the occasional stuffing. Last year, when The Cornershop was “opened” it was filled to the brim with normal, everyday items that a grocery shop may have in stock, but instead, made of felt. The items included ice cream, cans of soup, Doritos, beer, and even cigarettes, just to name a few. The variety of items that were sold at the store was endless. The best part about this corner shop is that it functioned as a real store. A customer could enter the store, shop, purchase the felt items, and take them home. Sparrow’s felt creations became so popular that she even opened up an online shop where anyone in the world can purchase his or her own soft food and cigarettes.
Each grocery store product looked impressively similar to its real-life counterpart, in spite of being made out of felt, with the exception of Sparrow’s vegetables with eyes, of course. While The Cornershop was opened, it contained over 4,000 soft, plush items. The painstaking task of creating each individual grocery item out of felt and embroidery speaks volumes to the artist’s patience and artistic talent. (via The Jealous Curator)
Welcome to Musii, an island of emotion where you can play, feel and listen. Feel like you need a hug? Musii will give you one! This instrumental blow-up stands for Multi-Sensory Interactive Inflatable. A device that lights up and provides a sense of comfort for anyone who interacts with it. Large, soft nylon spires make up its body and extend upward. Pressing down on them creates a spectacle of feeling, brushing all emotion.
Beneath the milk white exterior is an audiovisual system equipped with LED sensors and vibrating speakers that radiate music from a selection of more then 50 sounds. Musii was specialized with the intentions of providing sensory therapy for children with special needs. The inflation and deflation of the spires creates a “humming bird” musical of sound accompanied by rays of changing color. The adjustment of light, sound and volume can be accessed through a touchscreen remote.
The stereotype of your average biker is probably not the first thing you would think of when looking at these images by London based photographer Bex Day. She manages to capture a personable, jovial and charming side to the bikers associated with the infamous 59 Club of London. Wanting to recreate scenes of the subculture from the 60s and onwards, Day cast different characters in certain poses that are endearing and humorous. She says:
I wanted to explore the renowned biker café, the Ace Café and explore the lives of the bikers who hang out there and get to know them better; but most importantly to investigate their take on the 50s/60s movement.
Trying to keep the scenes as realistic as possible, and true to the spirit of the 59 Club, it is important to Day that she captures the bikers how they really are – wrinkles, blemishes, hairy backs and all. She goes on to say:
I wanted to recreate the era to illustrate it in a timeless manner, which is what I try to do in all my photographs, but also to emphasize how the subjects viewed the era we were trying to portray and their take on it was crucial to the photographs.
Day wants to challenge our views of conventional beauty and to destroy the guidelines of what is and what isn’t aesthetically pleasing. A subject that isn’t normally seen as beautiful, in Day’s hands, is treated as something equally as attractive as a traditional fashion spread. Who would’ve thought long haired men wearing too-tight dungarees and ‘pimp’ glasses straddling motorbikes could be so appealing?