Export to World (Linda Kostowski and Sascha Pohflepp) seeks to comment ironically on the design and production of merchandise in virtual worlds. At Ars Electronica in Linz, retail space on Marienstrasse was temporarily converted into a shop like those found in Second Life. Large scale display ads showed what’s for sale: custom-made or purchased virtual objects that shoppers could buy at a price determined daily by the current Linden dollar/euro exchange rate. Instead of the acquired object suddenly appearing in the purchaser’s inventory, though, the proud owner received a a two-dimensional paper representation of it which he/she could manually fit together into a three-dimensional object on site. The final results are paper representations of digital representations of real objects, including all the flaws that copying entails.
The work of Karim Hamid, as the artist states is “interested in the process by which the female figure is objectified by the archetypal male gaze.” The naked figures are mutilated and leveled to one plane with the background making the main objects in the paintings create tension since they’re all sharing one dimension. The subtle muted colors, and the rough painting manner combined with bedrooms as backdrops, portray an indication of the women’s figure objectification throughout history, as well as today’s media insatiable need of it.
These ink drawings, saturated with detail, are the masterwork of Seattle artist Olivia Knapp. Knapp utilizes classic shading techniques from the Baroque period, putting a real spin on the classic still life. At first glance, her work appears to be a mishmash of objects borrowed from an antiquated medical book. Knapp orchestrates a hyper-stylized version of everyday elements within American culture: a Fruit Loops box, some headphones, items rigidly anchored to the 21st century American lexicon. In these drawings, they appear in a different light, making the items far more mysterious and surreal than we know them to be. The black crosshatching weaves in an inexplicable amount of detail, with forms that are tight from a distance and dissolve into their own internal network of lines when viewed in detail.
Her work stretches leisurely throughout the frame, exhibiting a sort of spaciousness that is vastly composed of the winding structures of arteries stemming from the heart, or twisted plants and snakes. The arteries of a heart grip a spoon to eat a bowl of cereal, the brain hovers, listening to music; often what could have been a normal picture reduced to its mere elements, the heart the symbolic structure indicating man, or human, yet everything contorts into everything else like Salvador Dali’s melting clocks. The marriage of a new symbol presented with an old technique is nothing new, but Knapp has found a way to express it that is entirely bizarre, interesting, and unique.
The stick figures of Laylah Ali are like no other. In her latest show The Acephalous Series which means “headless” she continues on her path of creating a new population of figures with strange expressions and round heads. Her newest resemble vegetables of the cucumber and celery kind. Whereas her former works have studied race relations, torture and hierarchy her newest seem to comment on the state of farming and the food industry. In a number of pieces there seem to be deformities of sorts which could be alerting to chemicals which are rampant in food that isn’t organic. A hybrid baby figure lurking in some might also symbolize sickness affecting unborn and young things. Its sometimes hard to tell with work of this nature what it all means but that’s what makes it both fun and enjoyable. It’s a challenge the artist gives the viewer by making something entirely original.
Ali has been on the international art radar for sometime. She participated in the Venice Bienniale in 2003 and Whitney Biennial in 2004. Her work as a whole is attributed to various types of art stemming from ancient hieroglyphics to comic book serials. She speaks about social issues affecting men, women and minorities using everyday objects such as gym balls, sneakers and sticks.
Marbled Reams is a print project initiated by Tom Godfrey in the UK in 2009. The idea was simple: Produce a single 11.7 x 8.3 inch work and photocopy it onto an entire ream. The reams are then marbled along one edge and displayed in a stack. The result is a miniature monument that consists of 500 multiple works of art. The project has grown and these days new reams are produced on a bi-monthly basis featuring guest artists. The faux marbling enhances visual impact and lends a sculptural quality to the editions.
Ossian Brown is an English artist and musician whose book “Haunted Air” gives us a rare glimpse at the vintage celebration of Halloween in America, c. 1875-1955. Anonymous photographs collected from family albums depict the traditional macabre costumes from ages past.
“I find their haunting melancholy completely absorbing; all of these photographs <…> now torn out, disembodied and forgotten <…> they’ve now become fully and utterly the masks and phantoms they dragged up as, all those years ago.”
Compared to today’s flashy, pop-culture inspired Halloween costumes, these get ups of are capable of giving viewer the chills. Black and white photographs feature children and adults dressed with strange DIY masks and robes. Popular motifs contain disguising as devils, witches or animals.
According to Brown, he was fascinated by the wild imagination of these people who at the time were living in great poverty but still managed to create “these incredible and phantasmagorical apparitions”. From whatever inanimate objects, they would construct truly haunting costumes and kept with the essence of tradition which is overlooked nowadays.
To give the book even more mystery, the foreword was written by David Lynch. A short excerpt presented here:
“All the clocks had stopped. A void out of time. And here they are – looking out and holding themselves still – holding still at that point where two worlds join – the familiar – ant the other.”