As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Amanda Gorence’s article on Chi Lei.
Red Star Motel is the clever, action-packed series by Beijing photographer Chi Lei, “Chili”, that reads like an unraveling drama brimming with sex, drugs, murder and chaos. Each scene is set in an identical divey Beijing motel room where Chili supplies us with plenty of voyeuristic moments to witness. The images are linked together through subtle visual clues that have been woven throughout, encouraging the viewer to take part and piece together the story.
Artist Maja Ruznic paints what she remembers. Ruznic acts in a literal way on the idea that remembering is a creative process. Painting from experience and filling in the unknown, her paintings feel like their plucked directly from the middle of a narrative. Speaking of the way past experience plays into her creative process Ruznic says:
“Sometimes I am drawn to someone’s hands, to one’s rhythm of speech, to one’s constant checking of their cell phone. This interest usually serves as an incentive to begin a painting.”
A successful piece of furniture is timeless. It simultaneously looks brand new and like it’s existed forever. Atelier Pfister’s pieces have that quality. After the jump you can see more of our favorite pieces.
Korean artist Rim Lee creates The Mess of Emotion, a haunting series of oil paintings that combine performance, photography and oils. The multi-faceted paintings work well within the themes the artist plays with, as they literally show the woman’s tortured yet delicate essence driven by emotional distress quite beautifully.
Lee plays model for her photographs; these [photographs] are then referenced in her paintings. The act of transferring the realistic image onto a canvas [a surface which usually allows for unworldly expression] indicates an unyielding desire to break free from the idea that judging character solely based on interpretations of physical characteristics and movements is in part, wrong.
Aptly so, the paint acts as a conduit for emotion and expression; the paint washes over Lee’s hyper-realistic physical portrayal, creating a dialogue between the two polarities.
The heavy-expressionistic brushstrokes fill the canvas with texture; they rise above anything else, as to indicate relevance on behalf of the otherwise invisible mental anguish she is going through. [via My Modern Met]
What story would your flesh tell if it were splayed and flattened, digitally altered to appear as a work of art, caught between the angled sides of a camera frame? For his stunning series of photographs, titled Skin, the photographer June Yong Lee manipulates portraits of nude bodies, arranging their torsos in such a way that defies the limitations of the muscular skeletal system.
Despite the artist’s deliberate omission of common indicators of visual identity—facial features, body shape, and race—the images are an authoritative and legible document of selfhood. Pointing to the human desire to express what cannot be conveyed with language, Lee’s camera reveals tattoos, tired milky breasts, freckles, and scars.
For the artist, skin operates as a visual diary of experience. Without the guidelines of a more recognizable human form, memories— that range from the mundane to the sexually charged— are kept only through marks etched on flesh. He writes, “our skin never forgets [our past].”
The ideological tensions between body and mind are subverted as the skin organ is compressed; as if they were flowers held between the heavy pages of an encyclopedia, mounds of sin become something to be studied and read. The careful framing of each piece enhances this idea; positioned in relation to a central axis of the navel, the bisected torsos appear bound down the middle like some sort of corporeally historical book.
The phenomenal work is so poignant because in some ways, it confirms the unreliability of a subjective human memory: tattoos are faded or unreadable, and scars are healed. The images seem to blend the antique tonal richness of early Victorian photography with a morbid sense of modern forensics; as if recovered from an ancient autopsy, the slabs of flesh are somehow mournful yet objective and scientific. Our memories erode, and we die; yet through some miraculous marriage of science and art, fragments of our forgotten moments might be archived. (via Feature Shoot)
Tabitha Soren‘s most recent body of work, simply titled Running, is an interesting collection of photographs that capture individuals fleeing in a state of sheer panic. By withholding most of the context from these freeze-frame images, Soren leaves her audience hanging in a moment of suspended terror—with no option but to construct a narrative around each scenario she presents. Each highly cinematic snapshot resonates with an easily relatable range of human emotions, and the focus of her work as a whole is tied up in using her lens to investigate the messier moments of life.
A longtime journalist and documentarian, Soren seems comfortable working in the realm of subject matter that is slightly unresolved. “My work is about what people can survive and what they can’t,” she says. “It’s about decay, how life can be reckless, and how you have to keep going. I explore how people can pick themselves up.” It’s interesting to see how these themes play out across the series, leaving traces of vulnerability, fear and escape etched into their collective storyline.
Since 1999, Brazilian artist Herbert Baglione has been populating the cracked walls and floors of forgotten places with shadowy, painted specters, which are characterized by their elongated limbs and emaciated, sinuous bodies. As the years have passed, his ghostly installations have emerged in dark corners all over the world, including Brazil, Germany, and France. In July 2013, Baglione found what might be his most eerie location to date: an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Parma, Italy. Down the building’s moldering, littered corridors, the artist’s ghosts aimlessly trail their wispy bodies up the walls and through open doors. At this time, the ongoing project was officially named 1000 Shadows. Describing his creative approach to forgotten places and their inhabiting spirits, Baglione has explained that “The ‘reading’ of these places allows [him] to take the shadow to a unique path, which usually feeds and broadens the discussion because it brings light to the abandoned environment […]. It is as if the soul is leaving an invisible trail on these places” (Source).
What makes Baglione’s work so simultaneously fascinating and unsettling for the psyche is that it plays with the dichotomy of presence and absence — two states of being that we often assume are fundamentally separate. By creating these shadows, not only has Baglione left his physical “mark” (his presence) for passersby to ponder (who was here? And what does it mean?), but he reminds us that other people were there long before us, and perhaps their energy still remains, making absence a form of presence. We feel drawn to these sad specters, and perhaps a bit frightened; they are traces of a persisting darkness that inspire us, emotionally and imaginatively, to close the gap in time. The wheelchair deserted in the hallway with its accompanying ghost is a particularly visceral referent for this troubling of past and present life.
Visit Baglione’s blog, Facebook page, and Instagram and follow him as he continues to occupy our imaginations and the world’s forgotten places with his signature shadows. (Via Bored Panda)
London based Stewart Gough’s high-tech sculptures look like a mixture between NASA space explorers, mad scientist chemistry labs, and futuristic war machines. However they are all built out of everyday materials such as plastic plates, pipe fittings, tape, nylon strings and other everyday materials you could get at your neighborhood hardware store. (via theeyestheysee)