Rajni Perera’s work is a wondrous fusion of different mythologies, cultures and viewpoints. Her wildly colored drawings combine Hindu imagery, pre-historic animal beasts, galaxy prints produced by the Hubble Deep Field Telescope and the figures of exotic women. She works with techniques and symbols from Indian miniaturist art, Blaxploitation and pop culture references, forming her very own mythology.
Born in Sri Lanka, Perera is drawing on her own immigrant background and her transient state moving between Eastern and Western cultures to illustrate a unique standpoint that it both specific and universal. Her work is an exploration of what it means to be cross cultural in today’s world, and is her trying to dissect those layers in a way she, and us, can understand. A big subject in her work is the representation of female sexuality, and also the presentation of Asian and South Asian cultures in a predominately male Caucasian world. But she says perhaps it isn’t that straight forward.
I don’t know if I really want to make statements about racial prejudice, at least maybe I feel I’ve moved past that in my work. More like I try to make images questioning the projected, or fabricated sexuality behind circulated images (be it on screen, print or the web) of the colored female body in pop culture or otherwise, i.e. ethnic pornography. (Source)
We’ve all seen them- they’re these hyper-stereotypical web images of African girls in beads and wood, Japanese girls in kimonos, and Indian girls in saris; all very subservient, all very saleable; this is my point. There’s something for sale there. (Source)
For Perera the thing that is a common thread connecting Eastern and Western cultures is Kitsch: The idea of culture being re-appropriated by, or passed between, one another. Hollywood and Bollywood are essentially two heads of the same beast, and Perera certainly draws that beast spectacularly.
If you have a soft spot for cross stitch and tattoos, the work of this artist could well be your new favorite thing. Turkish tattoo artist Eva Krbdk is carving a new niche out for herself in the world of body art. She inks up cute, simple and striking designs for clients who are looking for something a bit different.
Krbdk tattoos anything from Marilyn Monroe, to Darth Vader, to roses, foxes and popular sayings. She of course, isn’t only limited to cross stitch designs – there are tons of other tattoos on her Instagram account, including great watercolors and pixelated work. She has a great eye for color, geometry and simplicity. Not relying heavily on black, or outlines to create definition, she utilizes spacing and natural contrast to create her distinctive markings. (Via Bored Panda)
Swedish photographer Pieter ten Hoopen has worked within all aspects of photography, from journalism to commercial. At this point in his career he is a well known and distinguished photographer: he has received many prestigious awards, amongst them the Photographer of the Year in Sweden, and the World Press Award; he has published books of photography on Tokyo and Stockholm, and is currently working on a film project about Hungry Horse, Montana, through MediaStorm.
Ten Hoopen shoots mainly on a Nikon but also uses Yashica box cameras and a Widelux. He has worked all over the world, and travels out of known safety to deliver raw and emotionally jarring footage from places far away, many in turmoil. In the past, he has worked in Pakistan, composing images from the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, an intimate glimpse into the pain and hardship as families continued digging through rubble in search of buried survivors. He shot the small village Vladimirskoe, Russia, which, lying next to the mythically invisible town of Kitezh, occupies a strange grey area of being juxtaposed next to a national attraction while being invisible and struggling itself; problems with alcohol and unemployment make life difficult for most of its inhabitants. In Japan, ten Hoopen visited a forest that lies below Mount Fuji, known informally as the “suicide forest,” where, yearly, nearly a hundred people travel there to commit suicide. The forest is dense with vegetation and stands on the remains of a volcanic eruption, making compasses completely useless and getting lost in the woods very easy. People tie ropes to trees to prevent themselves from getting lost, and many go in there with the intention of never coming out.
There is a stillness in his images, the composition forms its own poetry, and the emotional charge of the situations he encounters stand squarely in the frame. Within the same vein of documentary photography as Sebastião Salgado, ten Hoopen brings an unprovoked sense of art to the frame; providing a visual means with which we can connect to these feelings as viewers, even halfway across the globe, even never having stepped out of our own country. That is the most powerful aspect of this kind of a photographer, he gives voice to what he witnesses, and brings forth the unexplainable beauty and devastation that words cannot do justice to.
Sculptor Sophie Kahn has merged new technology with old to haunting effect in her sculptures of incomplete women. Kahn initially worked as a photographer but became frustrated with working in two-dimensions. Modern 3d scanners initiate these sculptures, but the fragmentation of the figures is achieved by using the scanners in a way for which they were not designed. Kahn says:
“When confronted with a moving body, it receives conflicting spatial coordinates, generating fragmented results: a 3d ‘motion blur’. From these scans, I create videos or 3d printed molds for metal or clay sculptures. The resulting objects bear the artifacts of all the digital processes they have been though.”
The absences in these figures is what makes them so arresting. The elements that are represented are death-like in their pallor and stillness. There’s no sense of motion, instead the women look like they were captured post-mortem. Their peaceful body language and impassive faces contrast with their layers and patches. Like the juxtaposition of new and ancient techniques Kahn uses to create these works, the figures are both enduring and fragile.
“These scans, realized as life-size 3d printed statues and installed in darkened rooms as a damaged ancient artifact might be, serve as a incomplete memorials to the body as it moves through time and space.” (Source)
The imperfect sculptures reveal flaws, empty spaces, and altered textures. It speaks of the inability to ever really know a person, as if these pieces of the mapped and printed bodies are all that could be gathered.
“This concern with the instability of memory and representation is the common thread that weaves together the ancient and futuristic aspects of my work.”
Kahn’s fragmented women give form to the futility of capturing the essence of a life.
Toshihiko Mitsuya is artist who undoubtedly proves that it’s not the quality of materials that creates great art—it’s the way those materials are used. Mitsuya’s medium of choice is aluminum foil, which he cuts, shreds, and folds into astounding representations of medieval battles, mythical creatures, and undead warriors. Taking advantage of the foil’s malleability and reflective surface, the armor and weaponry look deadly; conversely, it also has been manipulated to convey the softness of feathers and hair. Mitsuya has brought to life an everyday, ordinary material that is often viewed as trash. In some of his installations, he has created epic battle scenes in ordinary rooms, so lifelike that you can almost hear the crash of miniature weapons. The foil, while appearing deceivingly formidable, represents the fragility of life.
In September of last year, Mitsuya participated in an exhibition at Studio Picknick in Berlin. Titled The Aluminum Garden, the show involved rooms full of plants made out of aluminum foil; Mitsuya turned a material that was born in a factory back into the semblance of an earthly organism. You can read more about the exhibition here, and learn more about Mitsuya on his website. (Via Booooooom)
Bart Hess, perhaps best known as the guy who did the slime art in Lady Gaga’s videos, creates work that distorts the human body in delightful and troubling ways. Visually, it’s astonishing. Hess intersects high fashion and fine art with an ease reserved for very few. His visually tactile aesthetic is informed by a marriage of hand-craftsmanship and digital retouching.
Hess’s recent projects, entitled Heart to Mouth, MUTANTS, and Shaved, respectively, use futuristic materials and textures to blur the boundary between textile and skin. “My work involves a lot of handcraft and a lot of work behind the computer,” Said Hess in a recent interview. “These two opposite work-methods inspire each-other. Personally I think that making for example an animations helps me to think differently about the movement of a textile.”
Hess’s mixture of craft and computer is marvelous to witness, because while he plays on tropes about the human body, he doesn’t offer any suggestion as what to think about it. It’s a purely visceral, colorful, and visually arresting experience. The rest is up to the viewer. (via gaite)