Valerie Hegarty’s Alternative Histories was installed at the Brooklyn Museum in one of their Period Rooms. Hegarty’s site-specific installations toy with a viewer’s perception—they create the illusion that the process of destruction or decay has been accelerated and what we see are the remains of the real artwork.
Thomas Quinn is a Chicago designer who experiments with something called “anamorphic typography.” When viewed from a certain angle the text looks just right, but when one moves around the text morphs and warps.
Fanette Guiloud is also interested in anamorphic projection and used the method to create a series of photos titled Géométrie de l’impossible (Impossible Geometry). Only 22-years old, the illusion is impressively successful. Influenced by artists such as Felice Varini, Guilloud is certainly an artist to keep our eye on.
Creating installations that defy logic and inspire wonder South Korean artist Kyung Woo Han says of the work, “All the facts are relevant. People see what they want to see. One fact can be interpreted in several ways depend on our perceptions. In the opposite, two different facts can be looked the same. My work deals with perception and illusions. Everything we see or what we know is not absolute. I suggest various ways to perceive things with slightly different perspectives.”
‘girl with a pearl earring and an iPhone’ – based on ‘girl with a pearl earring’ by johannes vermeer, 1665
‘always in my hand’ based on ‘in the conservatory’ by édouard manet, 1878-9
‘a family gathering’ based on ‘the balcony’ by édouard manet, 1868
‘her mirror’ – based on ‘rokeby venus’ by diego velázquez, 1647–51
Korean illustrator Kim Dong-Kyu gives technological updates to Girl With A Pearl Earring and other iconic works in Art History.
Kyu’s images, although hysterical, are quite critical of the way smartphones/gadgets have dramatically changed today’s social interaction. Themes of alienation, avoidance, self-centerness, and attachment prevail through the series of images. It is interesting to think back on the cultural history of most of these works [mostly the 19th and 20th century works on here]; the juxtaposition of the cultural implications of the scenes of each painting and today’s conception of socialization is quite amusing and very different, yet, at some points, very similar.
For instance, Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker’ from 1876, reveals the increasing social isolation in Paris due to a stage of rapid growth and confinement brought forth by the highly urbanized and elite-driven atmosphere of the new Paris. The woman, actress Ellen Andrée, blankly stares into the walls of a Parisian café. With a glass of absinthe in front of her, she solemnly contemplates the nothingness of what is going on around her. The man, painter Marcellin Desboutin, sits next to her but glaces towards the opposite direction, looking to catch on to something interesting outside of his close quarters. Similarly, on Kyu’s rendition, the woman find herself ignored and in a state of alienation as she is the only one not using a gadget.
These definitely leave us wondering if social interaction has been one of those things that evolve to become more of the same thing. With or without technology, it seems clear to me that the urban, and the elite societies, both rendered in these paintings (with and without Kyu’s additions), look to the outside, and inside, towards their phones, in order to fill some sort of void, and/or escape whatever lies in font of them. If this is true or not…that is up to you to decide.
“Nightmusic” (2014). Acrylics on linen, 140 x 180cm.
“Dear Darkness” (2014). Acrylics and graphite on linen, 60 x 70 cm.
“Anticipation” (2014). Acrylics on linen, 70 x 100 cm.
“Cosmic Tides” (2014). Acrylics on linen, 120 x 170 cm.
Martine Johanna is a Netherlands-based artist whose beautiful, color-drenched works transfigure female figures into surrealist expressions of layered emotions and inner thoughts. In 2012, we featured her illustration portfolio, a body of work which depicts her distinctive, artistic tradition of blending abstract elements with whimsical sensuality. Also included in her oeuvre are a number of stunning acrylic paintings — many of them produced more recently — that delve into the worlds of the conscious and unconscious minds with stunning depth and sensitivity.
Characterizing Johanna’s paintings are women — often nude or nearly-nude — posed in contemplation, their eyes deep and shimmering, faces soft and shaded with storms of inner emotion. When I enquired about the use of nudity in her works, Johanna emphasized that while sex and sexuality are parts of our identities that can be used in artistic, representational ways that hold a lot of subversive power, her work is more concerned with an exploration of the mind and the body’s relationship to it. As she explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay:
“There is more layering when it comes to forming the concepts of how [my] works come into existence, [just as] there is so much more going on in a person’s mind, conscious and subconscious; it is a web of complex emotions that contradict each other endlessly. For example: we want to be loved, but being overly loved corrupts, and love in itself is complex because the motivations behind wanting to be loved are already so many, from purity to manipulation to adornment to obsession, etc. In my process I deal with parts of these contradictions, [and] these thought patterns and emotions are endlessly fascinating to me.
However, I do not plan to make a work solely based on a combination of emotions; when I make what I make, I set up the compositions and figures that I feel, at that moment, is the right visual outcome to what my frame of reference and mind is. […] A couple of years back, I had my own sort of sexual revolution and a whole range of personal emotions connected to it. This is apparent in my work, [and] also visible is that I didn’t have my material or ways of expressing under control yet, which I’m now starting to get more of a grip on.”
The products of Johanna’s artistic explorations are paintings depicting layers of both materiality and essence. We see two worlds superimposed over each other: the corporeal, sensual, and sensate body, and the abyssal ocean of unpredictable emotion which surges within each one of us.
The surrealist elements of Johanna’s works likewise express the emotional contradictions mentioned in the above quote. Recurring motifs in her paintings are dualisms, shadowy “others” who embrace and accompany the female figures (see “Cosmic Tides” and “Dear Darkness,” for example). When I asked Johanna what this signified, she insightfully replied:
“[T]here is a balance of contradictions within us. You need dark to see the light; it’s nothing new, it’s yin and yang, it’s life. Denying darkness and not dealing with it doesn’t make life better — it makes it superficial.”
Hence why, in many of Johanna’s pieces, we often see layers of seemingly “contradictory” experiences, such as beauty alongside death (“The Hunted”), and hope alongside grief (“Opaline Blue”).
Seems like we have a sexual theme going today on the blog so I thought i’d add another post to the mix by sharing this great interview with Italian photographer Manuel Vason on one of my favorite new art&design blogs Yatzer. The interview is a great read so make sure to give it a look.
With regular vinyl tape, Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie transforms any given space into a colorful, mesmerizing landscape that often create optical illusions. There is no beginning and no end, no contraction and no expansion- in turn, Lanbie says that his construction “somehow evaporates the hard edge off and pulls you towards more of a dreamscape.” Much like the iconic, giant works of the Abstract Expressionists, its composition is hypnotic, abysmal, and sometimes spiritual, but always bit disorienting at first.
The labor intensive intallations take up to several weeks to complete, but that is no excuse to stop making them. As a former musician, the artist draws on musical references as inspiration. Often time, the titles of his pieces refer to iconic bands or songs, including The Doors, Morrison Hotel (2005), and Careless Whisper (2009). The design of his installations depend on the architecture of the space; each and every one of these are unique and transient installations that cannot be exactly reproduced anywhere else.
“OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY… MR. CHI PIG”, takes a look at the personal life of Kendall Chinn, AKA Mr. Chi Pig, singer of legendary punk band SNFU. The film documents the journey from Kendall’s troubled youth in Edmonton, Alberta to playing in front of thousands. The film recounts Kendall’s battles with mental disorders and drug addiction and their impact on his art. Open Your Mouth And Say… Mr. Chi Pig is a story of a man who impacted so many lives and his attempt to change his own life.
This doc has the feel of sitting and having a beer with some of the biggest names in the music industry as they recount tales of Mr. Chi Pig and his story so far. After more than 30 years of mental illness, drug addiction and punk rock, Mr. Chi Pig is back to take one last crack at success. Featuring interviews with Kendall Chinn, Jello Biafra and many other punk legends.
Like ghosts working in the still of night the impressions of Simon Schubert appear as faint memories. Appearing as something akin to haunted palaces they linger on the surface like dim shadows under candlelight. Mainly using old architecture as subject matter the nuances Schubert attains have eerie effect. He uses interiors of old European buildings to accomplish this. Hallways, staircases and large rooms make up the narrative. The vague images are created by folding paper to create indentations resulting in stunning pictures which speak to loneliness, isolation and impermanence. At times the pictures look like they were created with light pencil marks. This is the remarkable accuracy by which Schubert folds the leaves which eventually turn into open ended stories.
Schubert has done several installations using the folded paper. These have included large pieces covering walls with the folded Images. These seem to take the viewer into another realm perhaps representative of what came before still lingering in another form.