Brent Christensen constructs massive towers that he has coined Ice Castles. The monuments are made entirely out of ice with no supporting substructure. “Christensen’s series of Ice Castles are unpredictably constructed towers of ice fortified by more ice. The enchantingly frosty structures start off with a pool of water, naturally frozen atop grass, as their foundation. From there, the artist attaches countless icicles, using water to cement them in place, with the help of about 20 crew members who work tirelessly to deliver Christensen’s self-made icicles from his personal rack, where water drips and forms 3,000 to 5,000 icicles per day. Millions of gallons of water are used for each castle’s assembly, allowing it to reach heights of 20 to 25 feet. Additionally, the interior design of the chilly architectural constructions include tunnels, archways, walls, and stairs. At night, they’re even illuminated from within by multi-colored LED lights, heightening the magical air of the setting.” (via)
Ubu Gallery is pleased to present GEORGES HUGNET: THE LOVE LIFE OF THE SPUMIFERS, an exhibition of hand-painted photographic postcards by the eminent Surrealist artist, poet, bookbinding designer and critic. These bizarre, lusciously painted images illustrate Hugnet’s work, The Love Life of the Spumifers, where each accompanying text poetically and humorously catalogues the mating habits of a fantastical creature or Spumifer.
The Love Life of the Spumifers, or La Vie Amoureuse des Spumifères, combines Surrealist poetry’s fascination with l’amour and Dada’s tendency towards deliberate grammatical spontaneity and absurdity. Made-up words, like bowoodling, friskadoodling and alabamaraminating, are concocted to describe the seductive strategies of his imaginary creatures. Each text is dedicated to a different creature, describing how it woos, teases, gropes and molests its intended love conquest. Each Spumifer is illustrated by a gouache “beast,” which is added to an early Twentieth Century vintage “French” photo postcard. The mellifluously painted monsters slyly slither around the bare flesh of the pictured “mademoiselle,” nibbling and tickling, arousing her sexual desire. Hugnet’s illustrations seduce the viewer, parodying the human pursuit of love and lovemaking through these adorable grotesques.
Hugnet realized the series The Love Life of the Spumifers during 1947–48 and wrote the accompanying texts in the early 1960s. The whereabouts of four of the 40 original Spumifers intended to complete the series are at present unknown. Hugnet composed only 33 texts and one of those texts accompanied a missing work. He created a number of additional Spumifers, maybe as many as 20, which were not part of the final 40 which he had intended to publish as a book. The show is on view until January 28th, 2012.
Jonathan Andrew‘s minimal photos of World War 2 bunkers are beautiful and disturbing all at once. These utilitarian structures meant to protect soldiers are reminders of both the horror of war and the innovation and advances in technology that conflicts bring on.
The lens of the Indonesian photographer Donald Jusa has miraculously allowed us to see into the eyes of tiny, wholly bizarre creatures; with his macro camera, the artist is able to capture the most minute details of the insect body. At times, the faces of these beings seem entirely foreign; as viewers, we search for marks of human feeling and features, but the multiple eyes and strange limbs transfix and confound our perceptive powers.
Unlike some macro photography cataloging the lives of insects, Jusa does not capture the surrounding environment or even the entire body. Instead, his photographs read like strange portraits; against a colored backdrop, the miniature creatures seem absurdly to sit for the artist, proudly displaying their features. Fixed perfectly within the boundaries of the frame, Jusa’s non-human subjects are magically motionless, as if frozen between periods of buzzing and flight. At such close range, the viewer experiences the texture of insect flesh and bone; our eyes scan coarse, moistened hairs.
Jusa’s insects, magnified many times over and seen in such fine detail, tone, and resolution, resemble strange beasts, unrecognizable as the tiny creatures that they most certainly are. As we peer at them and their multiple eyes stare back, we might feel affrighted or startled by their clarity, the very fact of their largeness. It is unnerving to imagine our own faces reflected a thousand times over in these complex, repeating ocular lenses, and yet magically, we can interpret the tiniest hint of recognition within the insect eyes. Take a look. (via Demilked)
René Benjowski is a Berlin-based self-taught photographer who finds beauty, horror, and sensuality in dark, private rooms. Delving into the worlds of surrealism and erotic portraiture, Benjowski’s quiet, hazy, and provocative work skillfully traverses the line between passionate intensity and a reverence for the strength and symmetry of the human figure. The images are like intangible visions of a dream: in silent, dusty corners with bare, iron bed frames, bodies twist with a sensual — almost demonic — rapture. Colliding intimacy with images of death, skulls are clutched in hands and worms emerge from open mouths. The fetish element is visible: bodies embraced in ropes engage in silent power dynamics with an unseen participant, playing chess or attempting to reach a hanging book.
Contortion and mystery are important elements in Benjowski’s beautifully macabre works. Deviating far from conventional portraiture, these images convey a desire to experiment with strange angles and uncanny positions: knees twist, backs arch, figures levitate. The black-and-white shading adds an extra element of bleakness to the beautiful physicality of the twisted forms, producing bold, intimate contrasts between shadows and illuminated skin. In addition to the raw energy brimming within each surreal photograph, there is also a truthful power: not only do the images explore the subversive, alternative edges of desire and eroticism, but they leak with a physical honesty and agency, exploring the capacities of the body as it bravely endures unseen, emotional forces and its own physical limitations.
Katie Sims, born in 1988, is an emerging British artist gaining strong momentum in the art world– receiving the Jerwood Drawing Award and Richard Ford Award, Residency at the Museo del Prado, Madrid.
According to Pryle Behrman, Sims paintings “pay homage to masterpieces by Mantegna and Poussin, but deconstruct their studied, graceful air through the organic fluidity of her brushwork and the incongruous addition of geometric shapes that further undermine the compositional structure of her source images.”
Additionally, and on a purely guttural level, each piece is paradoxically busy in a faint and strange minimal manner that is truly difficult to execute with a certain consistent visual ease.
Alright I’m doing it…We at Beautiful/Decay are sorry to see you go, Michael Jackson. And you will never know of the times I, personally, used to watch your music videos in VHS form on repeat while making PB&J sandwich towers while talking to myself, but you will live on forever in our hearts! And also in the form of a gold sculpture by Jeff Koons. This further proves my agreeing with the apocalypse taking place in 2012: Michael Jackson would definitely not stick around for that. The King of Pop also exists forever around in the form of wax figures that our lovely intern Greg posted about earlier (foreshadowing today’s events??). But you will no longer be able to purchase his memorabilia that was set to be auctioned off in April.
Despite my joking tone, I am truly sad- a certain part of me has died along with him : (.