Beautiful/Decay is feeling festive this year….and so, we are having a holiday sale from now until January 1st. ALL merchandise on our online shop is 20% off! Yes everything, from B/D apparel, wallets, Beautiful/Decay subscriptions, jewelry, art zines and books….you name it! Just type in our special code BDXMAS20 at check out to save on your entire order! Hurry though- most orders must be placed by Dec. 16th-23rd to arrive in time for the Christmas holiday- check shipping deadlines after the jump!
In the series Daimones, photographer Federica Landi adorns pictures in a family album with her saliva. The new works feature bubbly spit obscuring faces, bodies, and create diffused patterns across the compositions.
On her website, Landi uses this quote to describe the importance of the drool:
The saliva replaces the seminal fluid in many cultures, used as magical element that can cure and fecundate through the single contact. Since it comes from the mouth and preserves the vital energy, it is often associated to the essence of the breath and the soul. (Craveri E. Michela,Intrecci di culture, 2008)
Photography is one way that we can keep the past with us, even after it is long gone. From Landi’s statement about Daimones:
The inclusion of saliva (a fluid certifying identity) on the photographic surface, creates a layer of contingent “presence”, intimate re-appropriation of the family archive, attempting to ‘cure’ the fallacious nature of memory and to ‘fecundate’ its connection with our current time.
Saliva is thus the glue that keeps together two dimensions: the motionless time of photography and the contingency of identity. (Via Tu recepcja)
Actually quite a simple video and concept, but it has the key elements that I’m personally into: shapes and floating faces underneath a retro fuzz. Director Olivier Groulx also worked on a video and website concepts for Arcade Fire.
The ceramics of Jess Riva Cooper are gross, majestic, fragile and poetic. Her Viral Series is a collection of clay heads bursting with groups of insects, tree roots, branches, leaves, flowers, stems and buds. Mostly white with a heavy glaze, Cooper subtly decorates areas of her sculptures and adds accented color. The pieces show a beautiful understanding of the circle of life, or rather how things are destroyed and created simultaneously. Cooper talks about how something seen as destructive and parasitic is no different from the form it is overtaking. She treats all areas of life as equal, and each creepy crawly is as beautiful as a lotus flower.
My work, Viral Series, is a continued exploration into the death and regeneration taking place in deteriorating communities. Places and things, once bustling and animated, have succumbed to nature’s mercy. Without intervention, nature takes over and breathes new life into objects, as it does in my sculptures. (Source)
Cooper has researched heavily into different cultures and how this same idea is treated. In most eastern philosophies, the idea that birth and death are part of the same spectrum rings true. She takes that idea further and looks a bit deeper into one culture in particular:
I also study the foundation myths of the Golem and Dybbuk spirits in Yiddish folklore and reinterpret these traditional stories through a female lens. I see a direct parallel between my interest in insidious plant life and a malevolent Dybbuk spirit, which takes over the human body. In both situations a loss of control is suffered as the parasitic entity subsumes the host. (Source)
Cooper’s ceramics remind us that even though things of beauty are there to be admired and celebrated, it is also a fine thing when those things are disrupted and replaced by other things.
Hugo Arias is a Toronto based artist. He describes himself as an illustrator with the ambitions of a writer: “I want to have the world see what I see because for whatever reason I have come to the conclusion that my head is an interesting place to be, and I would enjoy some company.” To check out other works, or just discover the wonders that is the mind of Hugo Arias, check out his blog!
Tenmyouya Hisashi is a Saitama-based artist who infuses traditional Japanese art with non-traditional media (mostly acrylic paint) and images from modern life. Calling his work “Neo Nihonga,” Tenmyouya seeks to renew the relevance of Japanese-style painting by portraying old motifs through a modern lens, thereby celebrating a long history of Japanese culture and artistic tradition. Among his images are samurai playing soccer, armor-clad animals, and a Japanese/American street “dance-off.” His work is also informed by contemporary cultural theories and critical thinking; for example, in “Japanese Spirit #3,” a man wearing a traditional tsuna rides a motorized skateboard. This painting “draws upon and amplifies the stereotypes foreigners hold of Japan and was intended to be viewed by a foreign audience” — hence the odd mix of traditional Japanese imagery with high-tech apparatuses (Source).
In 2010, Tenmyouya proposed a new art concept called Basara, referring to an aestheticization of defiance, extending from the “outlaw samurais” of the Nanboku dynasty era to the youth subcultures of present-day Japan. Exploring this trend through neo-traditional Japanese art unravels assumptions about a conservative and subdued cultural history (Source). Basara is also a response to enculturation from the West — the inflow of Western culture and media that immensely influenced Japanese life. As written on his website, Tenmyouya seeks through his art to bring back the vibrant “sun” in Japanese art, where before it was relegated as the passive “moon”:
“Basara aims to reverse traditional values in order to restore the fertile light of the sun that originally characterized Japanese art. It is at once an attempt to claim back through relativization within Japanese art—rather than by comparison with the outside—the diversity that it is supposed to abound in so much more.” (Source)
Aaron Johnson’s sunny Brooklyn studio is full of riotous, colorfully undulating, larger-than-life monsters. He’s getting ready for a show that opens next week. Luckily, he had some paintings in progress so we can see how he puts his paint on. Known for making paintings that are both incredibly gorgeous and politically aggressive, Johnson continues to develop and has upped the ante with his new work. Now he’s including Old-Master appropriations, political satire, religious abominations, gender-benders, and personal references, all played out in monstrous iconography.
Johnston Foster will be showing a variety of recent works at POVevolving in Chinatown tomorrow including an 8ft mixed media sculptural installation featuring an intricately crafted skeleton ( made from plastic lawn chairs ) riding a small pony that has been assembled from pieces of old tables and misc scraps of wood. The entirety of the work is surrounded by a swarm of wasps, each and every one, hand crafted from bits of recycled material. In addition to the epic centerpiece, the artist will be showing 15 wall mounted ‘masks’ – each one, incredibly expressive and created from random bits of detritus, including tires, hair brushes, shoes, car parts and a wide range of other reclaimed materials. More info about the show at Povevoling.com.