Vintage Photographs of Russian Prisoners Showcase Their Coded Tattoos

russian prisoner Tattoos russian prisoner Tattoos russian prisoner Tattoos russian prisoner Tattoos A few weeks ago, we took a look at early stick and poke tattoos that adorned the bodies of prisoners. A new publication from Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell (aka design studio and publishing imprint FUEL) sheds more light (and images) on this subject, specifically focusing on Russian prisoners. The black and white images feature police files of men who are stripped down and their full chest pieces, sleeves, backs, and legs exposed. Their tattoos are more involved that what we’ve seen previously, and are full of curious symbols that seems to include a lot of religious iconography.

For this particular series of images, FUEL looked through the personal archives of Arkady Bronnikov, one of the leading experts in Russian tattoo iconography. He spent several decades working for the USSR Ministry of Internal affairs and travelled throughout the country interviewing and photographing prisoners and later reporting back on the coded meanings. This gave authorities insight into this secret and fascinating language.

FUEL’s project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to make this book a reality. At the time of writing, it’s more than half funded with two weeks left. (Via It’s Nice That)

Byoungho Kim’s ‘Progression of Silence’ Engages Sight and Sound

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Byoungho Kim‘s The Progression of Silence engages sight and sound, using an aesthetically and aurally pleasing repetition of bells. A site-specific installation, Kim constructed the massive work from brass, piezo, signal wire and a sound controller, to hang in the spiral stair case of the Johnnie Walker House, an arts exhibition space opened in 2013 buy the famous whisky distiller. The piece hangs from the roof of the building down to the floor, engaging the entirety of the architecture, and with sound, the people inside the building. Says Kim, “One of the “materials” I like to use is sound. The essence of sound is the vibrations of frequency, and these vibrations are often seen as geometric patterns to the eye. Through the process of changing these geometric patterns, namely modulation, they become sounds for the artworks.”

Kim fully explains his process, “My work is an approach toward the rationality that was spontaneously generated with the progression of civilization such as systems, standards and modules. The unitized and systemized material/immaterial elements become the material of my work. The output created from my materials poses questions on the essence of life as well as being a study on human nature.” (via myampgoesto11)

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Mika Aoki’s Blown Glass Sculptures Look Like Biological Specimens

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Japanese artist Mika Aoki creates intricate glass sculptures inspired by natural forms, creating new, clear, alien-like worlds. Aoki’s glasswork resembles biological specimens and systems. Her amoeba-like entities are displayed in clusters, as growths or adornments on a malfunctioning car, or in glass containers, as if they are specimens to be collected and studied. Sometimes, Aoki illuminates her glass, enlivening her organic forms with the presence of light. In her work, she contextualizes the fragility of glass with the hardness/coldness of scientific classification and automobiles, underscoring the delicacy and temporality of her designs. Important to Aoki is her medium’s transparency, and that she is able to control its solid-liquid-solid state, manipulating a material that is nearly invisible. Of her material, she says, ”Unless light shines on it, we can’t confirm the existence of it because it is transparent. But once the light shines on it, glass truly emanates a special presence.” (via my modern met)

Keren Moscovitch Photographs Intimate Moments Of Her Open Relationship

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New York-based artist, Keren Moscovitch, attempts to explore the murky waters of open relationships through the lens of her camera. To do this, the artist relies on her own personal experiences with polyamory. The project began when her and her partner, in a monogamous relationship, decided to open their relationship up. Whether or not the decisions was made for the sake of this art project is unknown.

“I was confronted by jealousy and pain, but also got to experience a deep intimacy that I believe is only possible when we are fully vulnerable and exposed.”

 

The images, some of odd details of body parts, make up “Me into You,” a series of photos that shows out-of-sequence scenes of sexual encounters and romantic embraces. The choppy narrative obscures the the identities of the ones in the photos, resulting in a batch of visual chaos. By not knowing who is who, the viewer finds themselves caught up; essentially, they are having to do some guess work on who was in the original romantic relationship and who wasn’t. But, can that ever be known by just looking through these photographs?

 ”I wanted my work to show moments and views of the body that most of us experience in our erotic life, but that we aren’t permitted to acknowledge in casual conversation. If we are all sexual beings, we should be able to connect around that.”

(via Huff Post)

Website Builder Made With Color Presents: The Installation And Sculptures Of Alexis Zoto

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Premiere website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay have teamed up yet again to bring you exclusive artist features. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Website builder Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create minimal and mobile/tablet responsive websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This excited to share the sculptures and installations of Alexis Zoto.

The work of Los Angeles artist Alexis Zoto is inspired by her Albanian Orthodox heritage, art history, antiquities, family stories and her personal experiences as a woman, wife and mother. Her work is distinctly feminine and feminist. The starting point of the work is found materials such as a piece of discarded furniture found on the street and family lore/cautionary tales. Often these stories highlight struggles with acculturation. Drawing from both from high and low culture as a source of inspiration and materials,  she uses buttons, birds, lace, plates, chandelier, motifs from traditional Albanian textiles, furniture parts, and evil eye amulets in her work to connect the past to the present, the personal to the public, and the intimate to art history.

Alexander Paulus’ Grotesque Paintings Are Straight Out Of A Child’s Nightmare

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The painter Alexander Paulus works in the grotesque, visualizing the ecstatic realm of human excess; in his disturbing images, desires of the flesh are celebrated as both revolting and magnetic. In the Primitivist style of Paul Gauguin and Paul Klee, the artist weaves viscerally-charged narratives that center around the erotic self. Through Paulus’s masterly, globular brushstrokes, the human body becomes a site of lust, gluttony, and a disgusting brand of pride.

Here, the allure and seductive powers of the flesh veer into excess and are thusly robbed of their beauty; a painting titled Blond haired blue eyed beauty imagines the female embodiment of Western beauty ideals as a rounded, egg-shaped monster, her ravenous, gummy open mouth revealing gnawing teeth. Similarly, in a piece titled Bette Davis eyes, the artist reinterprets the famed Kim Carnes song; in his rendition, the teasing seductress has an absurd about of tiny, beady eyes, and she takes the form of Queen Elizabeth I, a historical figure renowned for her spurning of male suiters.

Within Paulus’s intentionally crudely-rendered paintings lies a harsh indictment of modern culture. The works, dripping with satire, lay bare society’s worshipful treatment of sexual satisfaction; Crowing glory hole shows a roughly drawn anus adorned with a primitive crown, and Mount blue balls elevates thirsty and desirous phallus and testicles, complete with an ironic smiley face, to awesome level of the tallest natural peak. In Just the tip, thick, messy brushstrokes are also equated with the phallus and sexual desire left unquenched. In Paulus’s expertly seen world, the beautiful is merely an illusion, masking our basest desires. Take a look.

One Million Vintage Crime Scene Photographs Discovered In Los Angeles Police Archives

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Until recently, an old, deteriorated collection of no less than one million crime scene photographs rested silently in the nearly forgotten archives of the Los Angeles Police department; spanning 150 years of violence and corruption, these images were only recently discovered by the photographer Merrick Morton, who has restored and salvaged many of the images, which will be exhibited at Paramount Pictures Studios from April 25-27 by Fototeka.

The crime scene image occupies a unique place in photographic history; in her seminal text On Photography, the theorist Susan Sontag describes the medium as a means of providing evidence, proof that is often skewed, corrupted by individual biases. Sontag also proposed that the photograph necessitates complicity; when Weegee rushed to crime scenes to capture the bodies of murder victims, for example, he was partaking perhaps in the fetishistic pleasure of violence.

Morton’s collection offers new insight into the discourse between crime fighting and art; unlike someone like Weegee, the modern photographer is also a reserve officer for the LAPD. The photographs he chose to restore and exhibit embody the very human tension between revolution and curiosity, for although these images were initially used to catch and reprimand criminals, they now function to satisfy our more voyeuristic yearnings.

Without context, these bullet holes, these nude, tattooed dead bodies are entirely open to our imagination and judgment, inviting our darkest fantasies and speculation. A pair of shoes, caught (perhaps accidentally) in the corner of a forensic image, shown beside a bloody carpet and a limp hand holding a shining knife, holds deeper psychological connotations when viewed as art, as a relic of an era gone by. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)

Aliza Razell’s Mythological and Emotional Watercolored Photography

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Aliza Razell

Aliza Razell

Massachusetts-based visual artist Aliza Razell combines photography and watercolor painting in her series of self-portraits that feature splashes and spills of color. Razell uses watercolors to enhance the vitality of her photographs by evoking mythological and psychological themes.  One series, “Anesidora,” represents the Pandora’s jar narrative (the myth features a jar, not a box, as commonly believed) and another series, ikävä, is the Finnish word for missing or longing after something. Razell’s photography-watercolor combination perfectly captures the humanity and surreality of mythological events and the poetic evocations of a fleeting feeling. (via fubiz)