Swiss artist Fabian Bürgy is a master of deception and trickery. His practice combines installation, sculpture and digital imagery. By subtly and playfully manipulating mundane objects and the space they are in, he creates beautifully surreal situations. Bürgy is inspired by the most mundane of things – from chairs and suicide belts to tire marks, holes, ladders, nails and even dog tails, and he changes the way in which they are used. He has the power to fool our eyes and make us look twice at what we are seeing.
In Bürgy’s hands, an empty gallery space will now have a black hole disappearing through the floor. He will place some black dust in the corner of a room in such a clever way it will look like the wall is bending strangely or lifting up from the corner. Or he will boldly put a ‘crack’ in the floor like an earthquake had ruined the expensive gallery floor the day before and no one noticed. His work is understated, minimalistic, poetic and striking. He transforms, misplaces, and destroys the things we see around us everyday.
A personal favorite work of his has to be ‘A lonely and misplaced black cloud floating in space‘. It’s a beautiful combination of elegance, melancholy and stillness. There is a tension in his work, or a feeling of being unsettled, but the feeling is not so uncomfortable it can’t be enjoyed. Bürgy is able to straddle many contradictions – stillness and movement; familiarity and strangeness; function and non function; real and virtual. He is a clever sculptor who fully understands the words ‘concept’ and ‘art’.
Oren Fischer and Anton Avramov are the owners of the Meshuna Gallery in Tel Aviv. First thought as a studio space for both artists, they decided to dedicate one of the rooms to exhibit new artists; mainly street artists. Located in the Florentin area, surrounded by graffiti walls, Meshuna Gallery welcomed this past Saturday Prettimess, a small art collective to present the STICKERZ! exhibition.
31 artists were invited to design all sorts of stickers. Some of them were available to buy on site, some were displayed on road signs all over the gallery, others were printed in a large version and sold as a set in collaboration with DaSilva skateboards. The rest of the stickers were sold in small packages at affordable prices (5 US$).
The idea behind the stickers is to promote “culture for the people”. An immediate, effective and fun medium to spread the artist message directly to the mass. By making exhibitions, parties and alternative events the young Israeli collective behind this event reveals young and talented culture activists (all linked to alternative sport, urban art and music scene).
So why the rise of street art in Tel Aviv? According to Nneya Richards from PaperMag the graffitis in the city are seen as a pure way to express ideas and are not always fined.
“It’s no secret that some of the best art comes out of social turmoil and, in recent years, nothing is a better reflection of this than the burgeoning street art scene in Tel Aviv”
It’s all in the little details for artist Sanda Anderlon. Her illustrated collages and animations use the things that make up our personal, social and public lives to create portraits that tell stories through objects which give clues to the person. Similar to an archeological dig which reveals intimate details about a community or civilization her panoramic illustrations speak through a cluttered and chaotic aesthetic but once you take a closer look they become interesting clues into someone else’s existence.
Through basic titles such as fashionista, neighborhood, party and at the beach we’re given an overload of things which describe life as a human in the 21st century. In fashionista we see the materialistic excess of the fashion conscious. The dozens of shoes, clothes and wigs become an interesting survey into what some deem important. In neighborhood and party Anderlon comprises an exhaustive survey of the people and things which make up both. It takes on historical significance since the artist uses images from various time periods to complete her picture. Adding some depth to her work are animated versions which take on a different perspective. These move through the works as a timeline and offers a documentary style aesthetic.
If you’ve ever been to a children’s playground and wondered why there isn’t anything for adults to enjoy? There’s no doubt that sculptor Bob Cassilly thought this at some stage too. He has built many inventions, installations, art works, statues and public attractions that kids of all ages can play on. His most ambitious project has been in development since 1983, and constantly draws thousands of visitors. The space – called City Museum, in downtown St Louis, Missouri is an “eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel.” (Source) All components of Cassilly’s wonder-world is repurposed and made from reclaimed industrial objects.
Cassilly and his wife at the time, Gail Cassilly purchased a 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) complex in downtown St Louis, Missouri. The couple started construction on the area in the mid 90s and opened it up to the public in 1997. Within the complex is a 10 story shoe manufacturing warehouse, which now houses a long list of attractions. It contains 2 airplanes, a firetruck, enchanted caves filled with sculptural stalagmites, a fully functional bar made from marble, an aquarium filled with sharks, rays, sea turtles, snakes and alligators, a skatepark, a circus area, and even a Ferris Wheel on the roof. It is also home to the largest continuous mosaic in America. The complex has even put on music gigs and events.
After the City Museum was deemed a success (it has attracted more than 700,000 visitors since it opened in 1997), Cassilly moved on to another project and started construction on Cementland – in what was an old cement factory. Tragically, Cassilly died in a bulldozer accident while under going work on Cementland in 2011. His vision is continued by a team of 20 or so sculptors affectionately called the Cassilly Crew who manage and add to his existing projects.
Make sure you indulge your inner child at City Museum soon, or at least build your very own playground to enjoy. (Via This Is Colossal)
The art of air collage is similar to air guitar. You emulate an original and make it your own. In Lorenzo Castellini’s case that means taking the faces of famous painters and paintings then collaging them onto modern day figures in contemporary settings. The end result is a humorous take on these iconic images and a look at how they would fare in the present day. Even though the project is supposed to be satirical it succeeds in capturing the viewer’s attention by using almost universally well known paintings and placing them in different contexts.
Some of the lighthearted narratives include Van Gogh in various “ear scenarios” and The Venus de milo placed in a shell gasoline logo. The funny stories that emerge by manipulating these images is that art can be brought into the everyday realm and perhaps reach people on a different level. It also uses a childlike technique which plays on perspective and rearranges found images to make comment on the moment. Castellini will take a photo and superimpose the painted image onto that then take another photo of him holding up the collage.
The faces Castellini chooses are from famous paintings which range from Picasso’s les demoiselles d’Avignon to Hieronymous Bosch. These resemble street paintings where the artist pairs faces taken from found images with appropriate photographic gestures which include upper and lower extremities. Material wise it references copying and printing techniques bringing it up to par with today’s standards and practices. (designboom)
Scottish artist Sarah Muirhead creates mesmerizing, nude paintings that are masterful in more ways than one. Her work is masterful in that it is very skillful, but also in that the subjects of her paintings are in control of their audience. Wanting to steer clear of creating nudes that are submissive to our gaze, Muirhead creates tension filled situations where the nude subject is staring at right back at you. Her subjects are not passive, but instead embody an incredible strength that challenges their audience. Each subject has a somewhat inviting stare, but still holds a control over the situation in their powerful, contorted stances and positions. In the artist’s new paintings, many of her subjects are bound by rope or string; others have intriguing elements like white, chalky substances all over their bodies.
Muirhead’s paintings are both unique and impressive, with an incredible eye for detail and color. However, her work is not entirely photorealistic. They explore this texture of the body in expressive ways. Muirhead is interested in patterns and textures, which you can see on her subject’s skin and hair. In one painting, the hair texture is emphasized by a woman grabbing her own hair and attempting to bite it. In another painting, skin texture and color is further explored and manipulated by depicting a nude posing with digital images projected onto her body and surroundings. Each subject is in mid motion, adding another dynamic element to Muirhead’s already multifaceted work. You can see Muirhead’s wonderfully tactile paintings on view now at Leyden Gallery in London until June 27th.
Screenshot from #EmbraceYourself: Kitty Von-Sometime
Photo: Birta Rán
Kitty Von-Sometime is an Iceland-based (England-born) filmmaker who creates beautifully strange and empowering performance art videos celebrating women of diverse backgrounds, ages, and body types. Titled The Weird Girls Project, Kitty’s art pieces are visual experiments aimed at releasing the participants from inhibitions and insecurities by exploring fun and unconventional forms of identity.
As a child born of the digital world, I have a compulsive hunger to record what I do. My inspiration comes from childhood dreams, from synchronicity, from public participation, in freeing those from their constraints, and a personal obsession with spandex.
In each episode, a group of women — many of whom have never met — are assembled and briefed on the secretly planned video shoot that Kitty has carefully planned. The results are inspiring: in “Secret Garden,” for example (shown below), women walk among the trees, unveiling both body and soul under the moonlight. In “Castle of the Apocalypse,” filmed in an abandoned fake Disneyland theme park in China, a shadowy crew dances amidst the ruins of greed and corruption. Taking a turn towards the humorously absurd, “Bunny Revolution” features a cast of rabbit-masked ladies who violently battle before throwing down their weapons and humping vigorously. In each of the videos, we see women improvising, playing, and morphing into expressive extensions of themselves, exploring their individual strengths and beauties while also working together as a supportive group. I had the opportunity to speak with Kitty about her project.
Polly Morgan’s freezer is not stacked with your typical content. It is comprised of dead animals in their primary state. She is a taxidermist, so that explains more. She mixes art and taxidermy to create beautiful and disturbing installations. Based in the up and coming art disctrict in East London she is collecting corpses of dead animals and arranging them to compose subtle pieces. Most often birds are the center of the pieces: birds and pigs, birds and a balloon, birds and a deer.
Behind the morbid scenes there is a desire to express the triumph of life over death. Something dead can, in a context become suddenly beautiful, poignant and touching.
Her inspiration is instinctive, directly coming from the animals. Scraping the skin from the flesh, the animals are a material and not dead corpses. Random people send her the animals they find dead on the road, always by accident. So the array of species she collects is large. Not interested in being a “classic” taxidermist, she wants to make her work more pop and modern. She has succeeded in creating a world of her own where a tiny bird sits delicately on a toothbrush or a nest of hungry baby birds are screaming from a deer’s stomach.
Polly Morgan’s most recent work has been featured in Berlin along with artists Bruce Nauman, Tim Noble & Sue Webster and is currently displayed in Washington DC’s National Museum of Women in the Arts until September 2015.