If you’re familiar with the films of David Lynch, then you know the subtle uneasiness that he makes you feel. It doesn’t just stop with movies, as Lynch is also a photographer. Between 1980 and 2000, he shot monochromatic images of factories in Berlin, Poland, New York, New Jersey, and England. The result is a book of photographs titled The Factory Photographs, selections of which are currently on view at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.
It’s clear that the filmmaker’s eye transfers effortlessly between the moving picture and a static one. These landscapes are beautiful, but desolate and haunting; Their moodiness makes them feel as if they are of a different time and dystopian future. “I love industry. Pipes. I love fluid and smoke. I love man-made things. I like to see people hard at work, and I like to see sludge and man-made waste,” Lynch writes in his book.
The photographer practices transcendental meditation, and his penchant for delving into the strange and unconscious part of ourselves is not lost on these photographs. In the exhibit’s press release, Lynch says, “I just like going into strange worlds. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself act and react to it.” These provocative images invite us to do the same. (Via Fast Company)
Bringing nature and humankind together is the purpose of artist Maximo Riera. The Spanish artist is making chairs from wild animals such as elephants, octopus, rhinos, hippos and whales. An homage to the extraordinary creatures we too often take for granted.
It takes the artist approximately 11 weeks to manufacture one piece. With an average of 480 hours spent on the entire process. The process is complex. First, the 3D modeling and then the production achieved with the help of about 30 engineers grouped from five different companies. The animal-shaped chairs are made out of high dense polyurethane and held by a metallic frame. One piece weighs 350lbs.
Maximo Riera is highlighting through the making of these chairs the importance of nature. It’s a subtle metaphor for anyone who wants to hear it, that animals are a innocent presence and that it is human kind’s role to find tame. Like children looking at toys, we are delighted by the idea of perhaps owning one these chairs, or at least try them out. ‘this collection gives us an option of admiring what nature is capable of; this is the main reason why from the beginning I wanted to be faithful to the animal’s physique. this series is an homage to these animals and the whole animal kingdom which inhabits our planet, as an attempt to reflect and capture the beauty of nature in each living thing.’ What about the real ones? The question underlined here is, how can we come closer to nature and respect and live with it? (via Design Boom)
NYC photographer and artist, Martynka Wawrzyniak recently had a ‘Ketchup’ performance piece/exhibition at Envoy Gallery in the Lower East Side. The performance looked pretty fun (for the kids), so I highly recommend you check it out. Oh and if you see Martynka at lunch, I would sit pretty far away from her… she might start a food fight.
In 1888, Vincent van Gogh severed his left ear with a razor blade—an act that would solidify his reputation in art history as a tortured genius. Last year, in a grim-but-fascinating project titled Sugababe, Dutch artist Diemut Strebe recreated the lost “artifact” as a living replica. She created it using 3D printing and genetic material derived from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent’s brother Theo. The ear has been sustained in a nutrient solution, and remarkably, it can hear you; using a microphone, visitors can speak to it, and the sound is processed by a computer that simulates real-time nerve impulses.
The purpose of the project is part science, part literature, part theory. It is an investigation into human replication—can the artist’s essence be reborn, or replaced? Drawing on the Theseus paradox from Plutarch, the ear invokes questions about bioengineering and authenticity. The project’s description on Strebe’s website goes into more detail:
“In the late 1st century Plutarch asked in The Life of Theseus whether a ship, which was restored by replacing all its parts, remained the same ship. In the course of time, many variations of the principle have been described. One of these variations refers to the title of the project. The famous paradox is carried out with biological material making a particular form of human replication, from historical or synthesized material, a central focus of this project. The ear is one of a series of a limited edition, made of different scientific components referring in various ways to the same principle of replacement.” (Source)
Visitors wishing to view this curiosity and “speak” to the deceased artist will be able to see it at the Ronald Feldman Fine Arts’ show Free Radicals, which runs November 7th-December 5th, 2015. (Via The Creators Project)
Melchor Bocanegra is a digital designer based out of Salamanca, a city located in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. His work is characterized by portraiture mixed with candy-cream absurdity; his subjects are usually set against empty or washed-out backdrops, acting out expressions of play or alarm. He often incorporates surrealist elements, such as thick tears or fluorescent goop smeared across their faces. Despite the innocent colors and fun compositions, Bocanegra’s images grab our attention with their discreetly unsettling aspects; in the following statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, he describes his style and explains how he seeks to convey conflicting emotions:
“I always work with portrait and I really like to mix feelings of isolation and melancholy with colorful and friendly aesthetics. I use simple compositions, trying to focus on the expression and emotion of the character. I could say that I try to create portraits with a passive/aggressive hidden sadness.”
Featured here is his Pink Ladies series, which present us with a cast of pastel-hued characters in various ambivalent and bizarre poses. The underlying themes in these images explore insincerity and idealized femininity, blending sexualized elements with the symptoms of banality; combined with the models’ superficial expressions, the fake tears, exposed breasts, and over-the-top makeup and jewelry convey a sense of exhaustion and meaninglessness. There is also the sense of loss, a grief over something that went missing during the transition into commercialized, sexualized adulthood. As Bocanegra explains, “[these] images create messages or questions about insincerity; with gestures of concern and ambiguity, we discover symbols of the unattainable, a longing for something we do not know or barely remember.”
New video by Jon Clark and Spencer Longo for Los Angeles band LA Vampires’ (in collab with Matrix Metals) catchy number “So Unreal” combines all the things I love most about 80s/90s video aesthetics: head wraps, odd mystic paraphernalia, soft glows, and of course a healthy helping of neon. Jon and Spencer sacrificed their living room to set up this dark lair for a whole month! Spencer Longo currently has an installation up at the Pacific Design Center as a part of MAN, SUCH AS WE KNOW HIM, IS A COMPUTER. Jon is currently working on completing a 30 minute short called ‘Spectrum Hunter’. Watch the full video after the jump.
Illustrator Jed Henry is pretty deep into this series. Using characters from Nintendo video games, Henry creates digital works in the style of Japanese woodblock prints. The pairing makes sense. Nintendo is, after all, a Japanese company. These lend a certain gravity to the characters, which were originally designed to be animated and simple. They establish the narratives behind the games as some sort of Aesopian fable. Donkey Kong is ten times more badass in this version than the actual games. (via)
Brian Steinhoff amusingly attempts to turn porn rated-G in his series of collages titled Porn For the Whole Family. He trades human flesh for floral patterns, silhouetting the once-bodies with kitsch designs. Now, we see abstracted shapes on top of beds, in the tub, and against countertops. Steinhoff is more conspicuous about some images than others, and will choose to leave in various sex toys with the masked subjects.
This series raises some interesting observations about censorship. How effective is Steinhoff’s censoring? In some of these images, the mixture of patterns and shapes is confusing and hard to decipher. But other times, the artist’s floral designs do little to shield us from what’s really going on in these photos. He’s keeping us from actually seeing the acts, but we still know what’s taking place and have some idea of what that looks like.
This is reminiscent of bleeping out “bad words” from television shows. Sure, it keeps viewers from hearing these phrases (which they most likely know, anyways), but it doesn’t change the fact that people are cursing and that you can probably guess what they said.
We recently posted the work of Von Brandis, another artist whose project Obscene Interiors reinterprets sexual content. Instead of patterned bodies, silhouettes replace the figures with a vacant, white shape. Where Steinhoff’s handiwork blends in with the photographs, Von Brandis’ erotic activities are in stark contrast to the rest of the image. This makes them differ in application, but also in context. Steinhoff’s use of these kitschy patterns conveys a homey feeling, whereas the other Obscene Interiors removes this association. (Via Flavorwire)