Selfies are a ubiquitous mode of self-expression. Photographer and performance artist Jaimie Warren integrates pop culture. humor, and a bright color palette to create visually striking self-portraits that are absurd, humorous, and campy. In one photo series, Warren becomes celebrity-food characters, fusing their names into an offbeat expression. In another, she re-creates images from art history, embellishing them with her signature pop culture camp style. Warren’s selfies subvert the form of traditional portraiture by using absurdity and grotesqueness to supplant the selfie’s identification with vanity. In addition to her individual projects, Warren also co-directs an internationally touring “faux-cable access show” called Whoop Dee Doo, a nonprofit that partners with youth organizations to introduce kids to wonderfully strange art that is meaningful, fun, and compelling. (via la monda and vice)
Nancy Rubins‘ grandiose sculpture exhibition Our Friend Fluid Metal is open to public at the Gagosian Gallery, New York. Famous for her explosive installations featuring re-purposed objects, this time Rubins’ transforms old equipment from children’s playgrounds into dynamic large-scale floating structures.
The title of the exhibition refers to materials Rubins’ used to create her surrealist sculptures. The monumental figures are constructed from recycled aluminum playground toys. But the story goes back even further, as the playful critters (elephants, ponies, giraffes, etc.) were made with aluminum from WW2 military planes. Sturdy and, at that time, cheap material was perfect for making thick children’s playground equipment. For the artist, this flux was a natural inspiration.
“Even before the airplane parts the aluminum was a part of the earth and before it was part of the earth it was probably parts of stars and meteors and things that slammed into the earth.”
The exhibition consists of four massive sculptures, all compound through a system of steel trusses and tension cables. Dimensions vary, but the largest measures 17 x 42 x 24 feet. Despite that, Rubins’ works ten to evoke a sense of lightness and stillness, like someone had pushed a Pause button in the middle of an explosion. Her expressionist take towards unwieldy constructions reveals the fair line between rigid and gracefully fluid.
The exhibition runs until September 13, 2014 at Gagosian Gallery, New York.
In his series “tautochronos”, German artist Michel Lamoller takes multiple photographs of the same place at different times, then prints and layers them, physically carving them into one image, sculpting two-dimensional space into three-dimensions. By then photographing the transformed image Lamoller returns the work to two-dimensions, playing with space and volume, echoing the compression of time and place in his work. The deconstructed figures in the resulting photographs are a visual reminder that people are always changing and never fully revealed.
People often speak of ghosts, and that’s what these photographs bring to mind—the pieces left behind when time passes and things change. It’s almost archeological, the parts covered, the parts revealed. The remains remain, an artifact of time passed.
The photos that are mainly figural express the changes in an individual over time. Clothed, naked. Smiling, serious. Button-down, t-shirt. They are a literal portrait of days.
The images that integrate a figure into the environment are more evocative. In one image, a woman seems to be decomposing, dissolving into grass and trees. Another figure blends into a brick building, almost indecipherable. One person’s body seems to be fossilizing as cobblestones stretch up his legs like moss. A book-lined wall is interrupted by fragmented pieces of a man’s face. Are the pieces so small because the impact of the person in the space was so inconsequential?
The word tautochronos is made of two Greek parts: tauto from the combining form meaning same, chronos meaning time. In combining different moments in the same place Lamoller has stopped time.
New York City-based design studio SOFTlab combines technology and craft with an installation titled We Are Flowers. Inspired by nature, the beautiful large-scale funnels are comprised of over 20,000 translucent flowers that create an immersive sculpture in the New York flagship store for Melissa shoes. It appears in the Melissa Gallery and was specifically created for the space. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, it’s funky, colorful, and playful rubber footwear that evokes a childlike feel (although marketed to adults).
SOFTlab’s sculpture is both precisely engineered yet enchanting at the same time. It’s whimsical and not over thought, which is how the designers want you to feel. They write:
Although we used cutting edge digital technology to develop this installation, we hope it remains mostly hidden in order for everyone to experience the magic of a hanging garden of flowers. We imagine this installation as an extension of the We Are Flowers collection by Melissa: technically innovative with attention to every detail, but first and foremost a design that expresses sensuality through its form and brings joy and color to the Melissa experience. (Via Ghost in the Machine)
Considerably ancient art form of calligraphy is brought to new dimensions by Tolga Girgin, a Turkish electrical engineer by trade and graphic designer by heart. His series of 3D calligraphic artworks witness how a little bit of imagination and skill can breathe life to a slowly disappearing craft.
Looking at Girgin’s graceful letters and strokes it seems like they are going to leap off the page and float into thin air. The eye-catching effect is achieved by combining skillful shading and perspective. Bright colors also do justice for Girgin’s works. His letterforms look more like paper cut-outs than two-dimensional drawings.
Girgin also practices “calligraffiti” which blends the properties of calligraphic style with modern day graffiti: the art of writing meets the art of getting your (pseudo) name up in an urban environment. Calligraffiti borrows inspiration from ancient lettering styles: Japanese ancient brush characters, Arabic pictorial scripts, medieval books and quill writing. The new form of art was originally named and pioneered by Dutch artist Niels Shoe Meulman. (via Colossal)
British artist Tom Phillips released the first edition of A Humument in 1970. To create this stunning book, Phillips illustrated and/or collaged each page of a found Victorian text - WH Mallock’s A Human Document - leaving parts of the original text exposed and uncovering a new story line with a new protagonist named Bill Toge, whose name appears only when the word “together” or “altogether” appears in Mallock’s original text. Of the text and his project, Phillips says,”It is a forgotten Victorian novel found by chance …I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties.”
Over the years, Phillips has revised and replaced pages of the text, resulting in updated editions. The most recent 5th edition was published in 2012. In 2010, A Humument made its digital debut as an app for the iPad and iPhone. Assisting in its develop, Phillips is very pleased with his work’s transition to the digital realm. For Phillips, a bright screen enhances his illustrations, lending them a glow his pens and paints couldn’t achieve, “almost like church windows at times.” After Phillips started working on the book in the 60s, he dreamed that it could one day be used as an oracle. Forty years of technology later, Phillips’ dream has been realized, and he’s become his own consumer: “Each night after midnight I consult, somewhat furtively (even though alone), the Oracle I have made. I’m often surprised by pages made long ago and almost forgotten, as well as by the sometimes uncanny predictions they offer their maker.” (via the guardian)
Michael Craig-Martin has been creating art since the 1960s. His wall painting installations from the 1990s and 2000s feel current with their bright colors and flat appearance, but some of the items in the paintings, ubiquitous at the time they were captured, are now relics. Among the shoes and pails rendered in black tape outlines are Nokia style cell phones and milk bottles. That doesn’t diminish the charm of these installations. Craig-Martin’s intent was to make these works in a generic style, even attempting to erase his personality from the works by using tape as outlines instead of pencil drawings. It didn’t work. The purposeful non-style of painted mass-produced items executed meticulously in a vibrant palette at enlarged scale has become one of Craig-Martin’s signatures. The choice of everyday objects for his wall installations was a purposeful one.
“I thought the objects we value least because they were ubiquitous were actually the most extraordinary. … I wanted people to realise how extraordinary everyday objects are, and think about what image-making is. The impulse was never nostalgia, kitsch or a critique of consumerism.” (Source)
Photos of the installations can only capture part of their impact. Walking around a corner only to be confronted with an enormous pink desk lamp is part of the experience, as are the shifting views of eyeglasses and belts through the arches of a candy-colored room. Only when standing next to a seven-foot extinguisher can the scale of the articles be truly appreciated.
Though he is often called a conceptual artist, Craig-Martin prefers to be called radical. It’s not just about the concept for him—the making that comes from the idea is equally important. “Throughout his career, through work in many different media, he has explored the expressive potential of commonplace objects and images.”
A jewelry collection by Icelandic designer Ágústa Sveinsdóttir explores the transience of all earthly pursuits by incorporating one unusual material, dust. Her metallic wearables allow their owners to experience the transformation and disintegration as the jewelry changes and decays over time.
“In this world everything existing is linked to the process of birth, decay and disappearance. That is the way of life, the way of nature. Inspired by the tradition of the symbolic Vanitas paintings, the Dust collection is a reminder of the transience of all earthly pursuits and how it can be a motive for design.”
Designer wanted to break the traditions of material use and employ materials that have been considered worthless. She chose dust as the ultimate result of disintegration: “It’s everywhere and ever-present <…> It is everything and yet metaphorically the embodiment of nothingness.” Sveinsdóttir questions the material worth by juxtaposing jewelry, a sign of beauty and wealth, and dust, an inconvenient mundane matter that people always try to get rid off.
The dust was collected from abandoned Icelandic farms. Designer pursued to find dust at its purest form, thus derelict places where time has stopped, man has left and nature has taken over were perfect. Using a biodegradable adhesive, dust particles were transformed into a jewel coating and used to cover the metallic bangles and rings. With time, the dust fades away unveiling the manmade skeleton of the object. (via designboom)