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Jean-Baptiste Toussaint’s Framed Memories

Jean-Baptiste Toussaint‘s photography looks like lost frames of memories of people you’ve spent time with or things you’ve only looked at momentarily once in the past.

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Ashkan Honarvar’s Grotesque Candy-Coated Deformities Confront Human Cruelty

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The artist Ashkan Honarvar, previously featured here, is transfixed by the gruesomeness of the body and cruelty of human nature; in his multimedia creations, he asks that we come face-to-face with the painful, dark cavities of our minds, painting a visual diary of fear, violence, and revulsion. His series Faces 5 hopes to capture the trauma of soldiers whose faces have been deformed and marked by war. Sandwiched between the comparably somber Faces 4 and 6, the series presents subjects with tragically mutilated features dripping in uncomfortably sweet confections made of paint and candy.

As the delicious veers into the grotesque, seemingly saccharine sweet-shop elements become markers of unknowable trauma and nightmare. The gluttony of mankind for violence and brutality are laid bare, and the hunger elicited by the images is tinged with guilt. Our craving for cruelty is equated with the natural and relatively innocent desire for sweets, and the instinctual impulse to do harm is seen as disturbingly tempting, seductive, and indulgent.

In these painfully intimate and personal portraits, the sugar-coated wounds become windows into psychological injury inflicted by violence, evoking in viewers anxious feelings of nausea and disgust. The unnerving pepto-bismal hue of thick, gooey paint highlights the desperation of a mouth blown-off, and coils of green licorice swirl across the face like snakes. These injuries are seen as parasites; the sugared treats stick hard to the face, as if to multiply and remain there to rot the flesh beneath. Take a look. (via HiFructose)

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Csilla Klenyanszki Game With Reality And Fantasy

Fantastic work by Hungarian photographer Csilla Klenyanszki.

“X marks the spot” is an ongoing series, which is about looking for the hidden possibilities that are related to form and function and the game between the reality and my fantasy. My inspiration is my house and my environment (it’s a kind of a kitchen chemistry), that becomes a playground. I like to work with common objects and discover their possibilities, give a new function for them. I try to play with the borders of the nonsense; something that looks foolish at the first place can always find its right place at the end. But like in every game and story it is impossible to tell what will happen and how the end is going to be. The whole project can become a tea party or a toy story. It doesn’t really matter how we call it, because eventually it is just a game, which is about the fact that you can enter to an other world.

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Andi Schreiber Documents Middle-Age And The Need To Be Desired

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Andi Schreiber refuses to disappear. In her ongoing series, “Pretty Please”, she documents life as an aging suburban mom in a youth-obsessed culture. “Middle-aged mom” must be one of the least sexy descriptors around, redolent of yoga pants and stretch marks and sun-damaged skin. Yet as the years have passed, Schreiber has continued to feel young and sexual, even as she’s felt that society has closed those roles to her. She says:

“When I was in my thirties I heard the expression “Invisible Forties.” I couldn’t imagine how sexually inconsequential I’d feel throughout this decade.”

The powerful documentary style photos in “Pretty, Please” beg you to look. Honest and vibrant, they are not always comfortable. Victoria’s Secret has trained us to expect sexy lingerie on a young, taut body, not on folded and stretched skin. And yet, why isn’t this just as beautiful? Grow old or die, those are the only options. Why can’t we appreciate the child-scarred body of a woman who wants to be seen?

Self-portraits are interspersed with images from Schreiber’s life. A drop of blood on the toilet seat symbolizes her ebbing fertility; the lit interior of her closet holds neatly hung clothes and shelves of shoes, but also, stashed up and away, naked kewpie dolls, whimsical and eerie.

“You get into your 40s and things are very different, your perspective changes, and the way the world looks at you changes as well.”

In “Pretty, Please” we’re looking at Andi Schreiber and she’s looking back. This is definitively her — her life, her body, her blood — and yet this desire to be seen, to be valued on her own terms, could also represent the scores of middle-aged women who chose family and stability and have had their sense of self sacrificed to their suburban houses, and diapers, and carpools.

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Claire Harlan’s Isolated Spaces

There is an arresting sense of isolation in the photographs of Claire Harlan regardless of whether she’s photographing a desolate desert or the streets of Los Angeles.

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Giveaway Alert! Biggest Magazine stack wins!

Magazine Rack Contest

If you’re anything like us here at Beautiful/Decay, you are no doubt avid zine/magazine readers & collectors. So, in celebration of print, we are holding a competition- whoever shows us their collection of magazines in the most creative way will win an Offi – “W” Magazine Stand in Walnut ($169 value!). The mag rack comes compliments of the online shop All Modern, which carries an excellent selection of modern furniture & housewares by brands such as Knoll, Herman Miller, Blomus, Alessi, etc. So send in your artwork/design/photographs of the craziest, biggest, messiest stack of magazines to:[email protected].

We’ll post all the entries on our blog next week and will pick a winner on Monday.

Deadline: Monday, July 6th, 10am PST!

About the Offi – “W” Magazine Stand in Walnut
Designed by West Coast product designer Eric Pfeiffer, the magazine reflects a penchant for simplicity and a useful and elegant solution to everyday living. Pfeiffer’s works evoke timeless forms that recognize a product’s usefulness and necessity while exhibiting the beauty of its material.

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Shary Boyle

I love it when you rediscover an artist for the second time! You may remember our post last year about Shary Boyle’s beautiful and grotesque ceramic work. Well I happened to run into her site again today and was surprised that I had completely missed her fantastic paintings and drawings. It’s like finding an extra cookie in a bag that you thought was empty!

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Mikael Aldo’s Conceptual Photography Explores Scenes Of Emotional Intensity And Transition

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Mikael Aldo is an Indonesian photographer who creates ambitious scenes that are both intimate and epic. In each image, the subjects appear to be engaged in moments of intensity and transition, whether it be ascending towards the heavens, transforming into a tree, or standing before a burning doorway. There often seems to be an atmosphere of darkness, or an allusion to death; one person, submerged in water, covers their face with an animal skull, and in another they lie quietly as birds pass overhead. Such scenes, however, are more serene and beautiful than they are grim. As viewers, we are never certain of what is going on (or what is about to happen), but this is Aldo’s intention: to connect with us via interpretations deriving from our own personal memories and emotions. As he wrote to Beautiful/Decay: “I hope that people feel something towards my photographs — a sense of connection between them and what I try to convey.”

Aldo’s creative process is its own dynamic transformation, arising from experiences and reflections and merging into conceptual scenes. When asked how he develops his ideas, Aldo explained: “I imagine them moving. Alive. That is how I connect one element to the others. Oftentimes I also make sketches, and write specific details on how I want something to be.” The result of this living, holistic process is a set of images that transport us on a creative journey through inner, symbolic worlds. Here, on the edge of something transformative, the photographic subjects demonstrate how to let go while embracing change.

Visit Aldo’s website, Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter and follow his inspiring work. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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