Gregori Maiofis is a Saint Petersburg-based photographer who stages elaborate scenes that illustrate the follies and mysteries of human existence in ironic and fatalistic ways. Many of his works are based around literary and philosophical traditions, such as proverbs and fables. This particular series, created in 2003-2004, uses tarot cards as its theme, pairing dark and absurd imagery with written titles to humorously encapsulate a facet of life and/or identity. The “Fool” card, for example — the prototypical image from a deck Maiofis imagined would be called Public Sanitation — depicts a man in a ludicrous bird costume as he prepares to jump off a roof. The “Empress” card — traditionally signifying fertility, femininity, and beauty — displays a taxidermied primate. Much of his work is produced via the bromoil process, a challenging photographic process that was popular in the early twentieth century that involves ink being painted over a black-and-white photograph printed on bleached paper. Maiofis’ resulting images have both photographic and painterly qualities, appearing historical and artifactual while satirizing human existence on a trans-generational, cross-cultural scale.
Born in Russia into a family of artists and architects and further trained in new art practices in Los Angeles, Maiofis fuses his international experiences into works that explore the strength of the image to overcome boundaries of nation and culture. While those knowledgeable about Russian history, identity, and traditions may have specialized insight into the significance behind Maiofis’ dark and clever imagery, there is still a lot of meaning left for the rest of us to identify; the figure of Justice — usually depicted as a stately figure — is naked and blindfolded, straddling her double-edged sword in a sexual manner, satirizing (perhaps) the representation of justice as a “fair” and purely objective entity. What makes Maiofis’ images so mysterious and intellectually engaging is that their meanings are never directly provided. It is up to us to divine their significance (as well as their playful, biting critiques of humanity) just as we would interpret our own lives with real tarot cards.
More of Maiofis’ clever and thematic works can be viewed on his website.
Our month long call for creatives to submit a t-shirt design to Beautiful/Decay Apparel has come to an end. While there were some great talents that submitted, we’re happy to announce that Deni Dessastra’s design, pictured above, caught our eye–no pun intended! Deni will be receiving a cash prize of $200 as well as have their winning design printed as an online exclusive Beautiful/Decay Apparel t-shirt. Second and third prize winners after the jump!
My favorite painters, the Singh Twins, talk about their commissioned works for Liverpool European Capital of Culture 08. The Singh twins recontextualize a traditional style of Indian Miniature painting with pop culture references to create something lovely and new.
Paris based photographer Ben Sandler’s photography series feel like small freeze frame shots of instantaneous events. I love the architectural detail of each shot, its environment holding just as much weight as it’s action, and the humor behind the predicaments of each character.
New York artist Danny Evans, photoshops photos of celebrities to make them look like the average joe, precisely, to show what the super famous would eventually look like without the best make-up artists and stylists that money can buy.
“It was a reaction to the over-Photoshopped images of celebrities that we see everyday. I thought it would be interesting to take it in the opposite direction.”
The project has been active since 2006, when Danny started ‘making-under’ the highly popular photographs of socialite Paris Hilton. Evans was fascinated by how quickly Paris’ pictures created instant buzz, and how much power she really had over a mass public just by being rich and ‘attractive’. Needless to say, the collection of Paris’ ‘make-unders’ grew from there; Evans created a Facebook page named Planet Hiltron which turned into a huge success; from there, he started to work with other celebrities.
“Basically just stripping away their cool personas I always find it interesting to see what’s left after the Hollywood has been scrubbed off. My intention wasn’t necessarily to age them, but to strip them of their ‘Hollywood’ facade. That has more or less been my general goal with this series all along.”
These photographs are images of a unique museum collection. The Museum of Broken Relationships originally began as a project in Croatia by Zagreb based artists Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić now tours internationally. While many may destroy the painful mementos of a failed relationship, the museum seeks to transform the impulse into a creative one. The museum points out other rituals such as funerals, marriages, and even graduation farewells while break-up do not have a formal ceremony. In a way the museum offers one to assist with the emotional impact of an ended reltionship. For this reason, the museum encourages people to donate personal belongings to be exhibited as “their love legacy as a sort of a ritual, a solemn ceremony.”
Luxury car brand, Lexus, has figured out a way to transform driving into art. Literally. In a new project titled Art Is Motion, the company combines art, software, and driving as a way to produce a painting as you commute to work. Lexus gave long-time art collector Walter Vanhaerent a new Lexus IS 300h hybrid vehicle that creates auto-generative portraits of the driver. As Vanhaerent drives, the car paints. Art Is Motion is part marketing and part art experiment.
The software used for Art Is Motion measures Vanhaerent’s speed, acceleration, and hybridity. It takes this data and converts it into brush strokes, which are modeled from the style of Spanish multi-media artist Sergio Abilac. The artist is really enthusiastic about this new technology. In a video interview, Abilac refers to the software as cloning his creative process. It’s not meant to be derogatory, and he seems genuinely excited at the prospect of this new technological assistant generating his work. It allows him to make things he would never had time to make otherwise.
The way the software renders a portrait is all based on how Vanhaerent drives. If he feels like speeding (using the gas engine), then the portrait is going have a lot of warm colors with abstract brush strokes. If Vanhaerent decides to relax and enjoy the scenery (using the hybrid engine), then that too will be reflected. His portrait will have smaller, detailed strokes with blues and cool greens.
The car features a large LCD display that dynamically paints Vanhaerent’s face as he drives. On the Art Is Motion website (www.artismotion.com), Lexus has recorded a few trips. In 2 minute long video segments, the portrait is recreated, showing us the speed the car was traveling, and more. By watching it, you really start to understand how much the style of driving affects the outcome of the portrait. (Via Gizmodo.)