Tue Greenfort is a Swedish artist who questions the changing nature of….nature. Sort of the timeless question of the human within this strange biosphere-sphere we call earth. I like the above piece, “enclosed biosphere” for its simplicity- reminds me of the mosquito-attracting never-clean the fishbowl “experiments” I did as a kid, much to the chagrin of my parents. I really love the “bio-morphic sausage” strata encased in glass, after the jump- sort of a delicious Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living riff? Anyways, be sure to check out the link, many of his works kind of require deeper explanation as far as exactly what’s going on (yellow tape sweetened with sugar water that leads armies of ants through a museum, a Coca-Cola condensation cube, a contraption that uses frozen fruit juice to cool water brought up from the point from the gallery’s infrastructure where it enters…..)
On May 29 at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Luxembourgian performance artist Deborah de Robertis, wearing a gold sequined dress, plopped down in front of Gustav Courbet’s painting “The Origin of the World,” and spread her legs and vaginal lips, publicly exposing herself. The artist’s intent was to re-enact the famous painting, but with an open, exposed vagina in contrast to the vagina presented in Courbet’s piece. Eventually, de Robertis was escorted from the premises by police officers, and two museum guards filed sexual exhibitionist complaints against her after the incident.
“This is a typical case of disrespecting the museum’s rules, whether for a performance or not,” the Musée d’Orsay’s administration said in a statement. “No request for authorization was filed with us. And even if it had been, it’s not certain we would have accepted it as that may have upset our visitors.”
de Robertis, of course, disagrees with these accusations (as does Banksy). “If you ignore the context, you could construe this performance as an act of exhibitionism, but what I did was not an impulsive act,” she explained to Luxemburger Wort. “There is a gap in art history, the absent point of view of the object of the gaze. In his realist painting, the painter shows the open legs, but the vagina remains closed. He does not reveal the hole, that is to say, the eye. I am not showing my vagina, but I am revealing what we do not see in the painting, the eye of the vagina, the black hole, this concealed eye, this chasm, which, beyond the flesh, refers to infinity, to the origin of the origin.”
de Robertis says she’s performed this piece, “Mirror of Origin,” more than once in the same museum without causing a hysteric scene, and unsurprisingly, this is not the first time a performance artist has imitated a famous work of art by exposing their body: last year, performance artist Arthur G stripped down and appeared in front of Musée d’Orsay’s parade of male nudes, “Masculin/Masculin.” It is also not unusual for female performance artists to use their bodies as a medium for messages about our culture and the way it conceptualizes female anatomy and sexuality: I’m thinking of recent Beautiful/Decay features, like Milo Moire’s vaginal egg-dropping and Casey Jenkins’ vaginal knitting. The reactions garnered from such performances reflect our culture’s current conception of female anatomy and sexuality and prove that our stripped-bare biology continues to be seen as obscene, threatening, and attention-seeking, even within performance-based contexts. (via art fido)
In the large Ivory Coast city of Abidjan it was once common to see Hââbré, the ancient custom of scarification. Today only the older people wear scarifications and when Joana Choumali decided to photograph them for her series “Haabre, The Last Generation 2013-2014” she had a hard time finding people to pose for her.
“Scarification is the practice of performing a superficial incision in the human skin. This practice is disappearing due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of clothing in tribes.”
Choumali photographed the participants against a neutral backdrop in the attempt to remove any stigma or judgment from the images. On her website she pairs two images for each portrait—one from behind and one from the front or side, showing the scars. This is an interesting choice which seems to reinforce the idea that the scarification serves as an identity card of sorts. Where people are interchangeable from the back, they are marked and classified and unmistakable from the front. The images are also accompanied by quotes.
“Opinions (sometimes conflicting) of our witnesses illustrate the complexity of African identity today in a contemporary Africa torn between its past and its future. This “last generation” of people bearing the imprint of the past on their faces, went from being the norm and having a high social value to being somewhat ‘excluded.’”
It’s intriguing to note that while Hââbré is becoming extinct in Africa, it is gaining popularity as “body modification” in other areas of the world. According to National Geographic “over the last seven or eight years scarification has become remarkably widespread in the U.S. and Australia and across Europe, from London to Prague.” Is it cultural appropriation or appreciation? Will these scars start as emblems of individuality and end up, as in Africa, visual reminders of regret? (via feature shoot)
French street artist and photographer Etienne Lavie‘s photography series, “OMG, Who Stole My Ads?” envisions the city of Paris without advertisements, replaced by stunning classical works. Lavie photographs the street scenes and paintings separately, and combines them later with digital editing. The result is a beautifully effective and realistic utopian city where people aren’t surrounded by images that encourage conspicuous consumption, but are instead living among masterpieces that decorate their chaotic urban world. (via huffington post)
Sarah Small’s The Delirium Constructions series is an ongoing body of work exploring disassociated themes and characters brought together into the same space. Small brings models into improbable, close interactions to examine the social and graphic contrasts of youth and experience, hysteria and discipline, tragedy and hilarity, and sexuality and desexualization.
New York based fashion photographer, Dominik Tarabanski, creates surreal editorial photographs that evolve around the notion of a ‘modern human’–minimal and sophisticated yet weird and edgy. Think of it like this: a mix between the early surreal photographs of May Ray and Lady Gaga’s outrageous closet and styling.
My interest and inspirations evolve around the modern human, photography is always the ultimate form of reflection. I hope that my visual sensibility will one day lead to a simple, pure and perfect organic form. I want to talk about the phenomenon of fashion in my own conceptual way, which leads to a smooth transition into the art domain. – Tarabanski
Bizarre and surreal animal manipulations are artist Sarah Deremer’s specialty. In her series titled Balloon Zoo, she transforms colorful balloon animals into the real life animals they represent. At first glance, you may think that the balloons have been painted to look hyper real. However, once you see the animal eye looking back at you, it is unmistakable that something is different about these balloon animals. Each creature is still in the shape of a balloon animal, but appears to have characteristics and features of its living counterpart. Their bright colors and fun shapes contrast against the visible textures of fur, shell, and skin. Both cute and a little odd, her quirky critters will have you staring, trying to decipher what is real and what is not.
After receiving her bachelor’s in photography, she took her work to the next level through digital manipulation. It is truly amazing how the details of the real animal bend and form around each part of the balloon version. Animal manipulation is a common theme in Deremer’s work, as she has other work titled Animal Food and Big Mouth Birds that will change your perception of what could be possible in the animal kingdom.
“Balloon Zoo is a photo-manipulation project showing the realistic rendition of children’s balloon animals. The balloons are all re-imagined with realistic elements, made by combining photos of balloons with photos of the animals they represent.”
Cecelia Webber‘s collage work features tessellated figures and limbs of the human body arranged to form images of plants and animals. Webber photographs nude models – including herself – in various poses before she digitally edits the images, cutting and coloring them to form particular parts of the new image. The final product features different bodies and body parts posed in the same positions. Many of the pieces take months to finish, but the longest image – the rose – took her a year to complete because of how tricky the angles were to capture and arrange. Webber creates an image with such a high resolution that they can be printed up to 6 feet tall, a size that would make the tessellated bodies even more pronounced and captivating.
“Each image takes many stages to create. I start by researching photos of the creature or plant I’m trying to create and then sketch poses I want to photograph in a notebook…I never warp my models or edit them to change them – it is important to me to portray real natural bodies. Once I have my photos I start laying out my piece and playing with colour and arrangements…Many drastic transformations take place during this stage, so it’s sort of magical, because so many different variations are possible. I feel many possibilities at once but the true form of my subject slowly emerges.” (via daily mail)