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Choi Xooang’s Exquisitely Nightmarish Human Sculptures

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Korean artist Choi Xooang creates sculptures that you’d see in your nightmares. The grotesque artworks are made out of resin and shocking in the brutal ways that they manipulate the human body. Severed limbs, skin corsets, and people-made backpacks are all featured in these pale, hyperreal mutant characters. Although they feature exquisite craftsmanship (the life-like details are stunning), it’s hard to get away from subject matter.

Galerie Albert Benamou – Véronique Maxé, who represent the artist, write about Choi’s work, stating the ideas behind his work:

His existentialist creatures, in the torments of their flesh and their contradictions, become our double dumb and clueless. The artist says that emotions are the only things given to a man or woman apart from their social status in the functioning of a capitalist society. Choi Xooang not only gives us his own feelings but attempts to retrieve a collective soul, a chart of all the sufferings and joys experienced by everyone.

We see these types of feelings represented; while there is pain, there is also sensuality between the characters, and even some eroticism shown throughout the strange hybrid people. With this, Choi communicates that pain and pleasure can walk a thin line. (Via Hi Fructose)

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Aisha Zeijpveld’s Dreamy Pastel Portraits Celebrate The Absurd

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Based in Amsterdam, photographer Aisha Zeijpveld specializes in conceptual portraiture and works as a freelancer for myriad commercial magazines. Characterized by an interest in presenting her subjects’ “nakedness and vulnerability yet simultaneously their potency and pride,” her photographs evoke quirky surrealism and capture the absurd while boasting simplicity and maintaining clarity.

By placing her models before color-blocked backdrops of muted pastel and neutral tones, the subjects remain the focus of her dreamlike photographs. While each subject is situated in a pose typical of traditional portraiture, Zeijpveld transforms each piece with her eccentric editing; hair is replaced by twisting smoke or scattered dirt, individuals sprout extra limbs, and eyes become shrouded in listless clouds. While the exquisite level of detail and precision in her work suggests that these alterations and additions were carried out digitally, Zeijpveld’s illusions are crafted entirely by hand using scissors, found objects, and other tangible elements. Ultimately, through these techniques, Zeijpveld successfully “aims for the absurd, allowing her photographs to be positioned on the interface of reality and dream-world.”

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A Sidewalk Transformed Into A Waterbed

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Ever wonder what would happen if the ground you’re used to walking on had the consistency of a waterbed? Well French artist collective Raum has and decided to create a pavement that wiggles, waves and reacts to movement much liked the beloved 80’s bedroom staple, the waterbed. Collaborating with the National Art School of Bourges and the FRAC Centre, a slice of pavement-like material was filled with water on a regular street transforming the mundane patch of land into a fluid wonderland where every step meets not so stable reaction. The project, called “La Ville Molle” (The Soft City) questions the stability of the city and it’s ability to change and accommodate motion and evolution. We’re not sure if the world is ready for endless sidewalks filled with water just yet but this sure does look like a fun project that makes you rethink your environment and the permanent nature of the stable ground that we all take for granted.

Watch a video of the fluid “La Ville Molle” in action above and watch a short “making of” video after the jump to see how you can make your very own waterbed sidewalk! (via)

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The Theatrical Photography Of Tyler Shields

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From burning Birkin bags to Barbies in Bondage or a clad Lindsay Lohan playing with guns, Tyler Shields’ subjects are as Hollywood as the photographer himself. Even his Tate Modern acquisition was documented on Mrs. Eastwood And Company, an E! reality television show.

Like Andy Warhol, Shields’ famous connections and brazen use of them, make his work ripe for the picking, for better or worse.

His most captivating imagery, to us, however, has less obvious celebrity shock value, depicting instead more theatrical situations where subjects are posed, mid-action, falling from rooftops or engaged in colorful night fights.

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Daikichi Amano’s Mystical Pornography

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Japanese photographer Daikichi Amano creates strangely sexual tableux that bring to life the ancient woodblock tradition of “Shunga” erotica. Vaulting bizarre fetishes to the next level, animals twist into obscure props in some kind of alternate world vision, in which powerful sirens are enveloped by sea creatures and warriors posture. Amano’s White Witch parallel universe is as enchanting as it is macabre. The figures all have a certain allure and potency radiating from them that I can’t explain…. I read somewhere that Amano eats all the animals after the shoots so as to not waste them in a weird, extended, Tantric-magician performative move, perhaps….

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B/D Best of 2010 – MICHIEL VAN DER BORN

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Okay typography lovers, we got a juicy steak for you all in this post.  Michiel Van Der Born has gone from A-Z in acrylic.  When I stumbled upon this series, I found it refreshing to see this playful take on the good old alphabet.  Bon Appetite.

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Alluring Bridal Photography Gorgeously Crushes Marital Norms

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The Bride With Crown Of Thorns & Cross, 2008

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The Blue Yoruba Bride, Nigeria, 2005

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The Mao Bride (Red Guard Blue holding the Little Red Book), 2010

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The Torero Bride With A Black Suit Of Lights, remembering Picasso, 2006

While we can probably all imagine what typical bridal photography looks like (maybe you’ve even been apart of it), artist Kimiko Yoshida turns this martial norm on its head. Her series Something Blue is named for the antiquated 19th century axiom that a bride should have “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue” on her wedding day. The portraits feature Yoshida in various costumes that are tinged with the hue, but not how you’d expect. They look like high-fashion photographs that feature elaborate headdresses, mirrors, and even a black-light suit.

These subversive images are a form of role playing for the artist as she disconnects herself through them. The M.I.A. Gallery in Seattle, who’s currently displaying Yoshida’s work, describes it as:

…she [Yoshida] borrows an identity, tells a new story and plunges the viewer into a ceremony, where the bride keeps appearing and disappearing unexpectedly. The artist recaptures time, transfigures herself into queens, muses, warriors, and uses the shadow to illuminate the mystery and hybrid nature her ceremonial attires.

Using monochromatic, as the gallery observed, has the effect of disappearance. Yoshida is here but she’s not, showing us that when we’re painted in only one color, we become a symbol rather than person.

You can view Something Blue at the M.I.A. Gallery until August 30th of this year. (Via Huffington Post)

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Objects Crash Into Photographer’s Face in Humorous Series

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Photographer and grad student Kaija Straumanis has created a playful self-portrait series in which her image is captured right at the moment a random object seems to be thrown at her face. A pumpkin, book, dodgeball, boot, and even a mojito smash into Straumanis’ head, smooshing her face and glasses into an awkward contortion. Despite the impact of the objects, in each photo, Straumanus stares a seemingly unaffected gaze into the camera lens. The collisions are set during everyday tasks and among familiar environments, resulting in a humorous series of striking moments. According to HLN, Straumanis creates the photographs by layering images into a composite and artfully manipulating them until they appear seamless. She practices mashing objects into her face, looking into a mirror to create the perfect pose, then layers images accordingly. “I feel like it’s disappointing that I’m not actually getting beat up,” Straumanis admits. “I’m duping the Internet!” (via bored panda)

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