The student artists Ayako Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi of Musashino Art University in Japan recently unveiled a series of portraits of X-Ray and CT images of embracing couples. One might expect images devoid of flesh, readable facial expressions, and color to read as clinical and sterile, but the photographs are strikingly human: “X-ray images usually show the finite nature of our bodies composed only of matter. But these couples’ portraits reveal a pulse that isn’t normally seen,” the artists explain.
Indeed, the images do convey ambiguous and subtle degrees of intimacy rarely seen photographically. The two individuals, positioned side by side, become hard to differentiate; the transparencies and densities of muscles and bones causes the two figures to fuse, touch, and pull apart in unexpected and haunting ways. While their bodies are flattened in space, forced to overlap, the bones themselves become separated by dark spaces, complicating the idea of what it means to be truly intimate.
The series also succeeds in conveying something more paradoxically permanent about intimate love. As mechanical process of photography and X-raying is offset by the delicacies of fingertips and craniums, the fragility and mortality of the human body is revealed. Yet the portraits, because they are X-rays and not typical fine art images, carry a forensic quality. Intentionally or not, they use a visual language normally associated with medicine and anthropology, and they are therefore poignantly removed from the confines of time and space, grounded only in relation to one another. Like two human artifacts, they invite viewers to dissect and analyze their bond. The couples appear as if held under a magnifying glass or fixed in stone, intwined in a decisive moment forever. Take a look. (via BUST, Spoon & Tomago, Daily Mail, and Bestposts)
Some people have an innate understanding of nature, and our place in it. Very few have the dedication to capture the most foreboding environments, even though these landscapes often offer the most complete portrait of the diversity and beauty of our planet. Niccoló Bonfadini is one of those few. The photographer (and environmental engineering student) captured these sensational landscape photographs while travelling through the Finnish lapland in the dead of the winter season.
With snow piled high and enveloping even the tallest trees, the Monza, Italy-based photographer offers a panoramic view of the very nature of winter. Taken at sunrise in temperatures reportedly ranging from -40°C to -15°C, Bonfadini’s photos show the plains and trees transformed into a world of towering clouds and endless white, carved with ice and snow. And with the snow covering everything (and all visual stimuli removed), the power of the season, and Life’s ability to persist through even the most brutal of environments, is shown.
Says the photographer and ardent traveller, “From the rugged mountain peaks to the fury of the ocean, from the snowy winter panoramas to the dense forests, the landscape never fails to impress and inspire those who observe it. Landscape photography is one of the most difficult kinds of photography. The artist has to be patient and determined to trasform what is ordinary in something extraordinary. But, above all, the photographer has to feel the beauty and the majesty of Nature.” (via mymodernmet)
Photographer Steve Rosenfield’s “What I Be Project” is, as he says, “a social experiment turned into, what is now, a global movement about honesty and empowerment. In today’s society, we are often told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these ‘standards,’ we are often judged, ridiculed, bullied and sometimes even killed over them. I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind & heart and empower those who feel they suffer for something they may see as a flaw.”
The project asks participants to write their biggest fear or insecurity somewhere on their body, and then allow Rosenfield to photograph the writing as part of a portrait. Often the subjects write an accompanying statement to the portrait, discussing how the fear has affected their life. The courage required to be a part of the project is meant to be cathartic. Including everyone from high school students to better-known individuals, such as Michael Franti, Kathryn Budig, Paula Van Oppen and Trevor Hall, the project is all about how we define ourselves based on the perception of others’ opinions. Drawing attention to notions such as reputation, stereotype, self-identification and insecurity, Rosenfield’s work is encouraging. It helps a viewer consider what the world might be like without the labels we assign and assumptions we make about ourselves, and people we don’t even know. Learn more about it here. (via theguardian)
British sculptor Lucy Glendinning creates ’Feather Child’, a bird-like, human-like creature. This strange project originates from Glendinning’s fascination with personal visions, expectations and fears about the future of a highly technologically advanced society. ‘Feather Child’, acting as a semiotic medium, specifically embodies Glendinning’s questions about the future of genetic manipulation in such a world. The feathers, apart from making a point about what a possible genetically manipulated being might look like, are also a reference to the classic tale of human hubris: Greek mythology’s Icarus.
The feathered child begs its spectator to ponder upon the reality of such fantastical but absurd creations in a world where this will most certainly become a possibility. Will we be able to resist altering our physical abilities and looks if we had to ability to change them? Furthermore, will we, like Icarus, defy our abilities, change them, and as a consequence have everything we worked for fall apart?
Time will only tell what the future has in store for us. (via IGNANT)
Environmental and seasonal artist Nicole Dextras is no stranger to using ice as a medium. For her series, “Iceshifts,” Dextras combines ice and clothing to create deconstructed wardrobes frozen in time, then photographs them up close and within natural settings. Often, the clothing has been frozen over several winters, creating layers and layers of ice. When Dextras composes her photography, she positions the blocks of ice to effect beautiful light refractions, giving the work a haunting and ethereal glow. The clothing appear to be specimens, ready to be excavated and studied. Sometimes, Dextras will include plants or leaves when creating her pieces; she’s even used stockings for arms and bras as wings to illustrate the many layers of the self .
Dextras explains, “This frozen wardrobe acts as a metaphor for the multilayered affinities between the self and the environment. On a deeper level, the mercurial aspect of ice alludes to the transient nature of the environment and of the inherent poetic beauty of the ephemeral.” (via my modern met)
Combining fiberglass statues with polyurethane, artist Nick van Woert‘s sculptures are swallowed up and overcome by texture and color. Artificial Neo-Classical statues are covered in multi-colored resin in a way that looks like they’ve been caught in the middle of a downpour. The visual weight of the translucent material (and emphasis on it) is something that’s at the center of van Woert’s work. In an article about him on Sight Unseen, the following is said about his philosophy of making:
Figuratively speaking, the idea is that the world we’ve built for ourselves is only as good as the materials we’ve used to build it — these days, that means all manner of plastics, strange chemicals, and the hollow plaster that replaces stone in the replica statues van Woert repurposes.
In the same article, van Woert’s practice is said to be driven by the mantra “you are what you eat.” Essentially, it’s the idea that we’d replace marble statues of Ancient Greek and Roman figures with cheap fiberglass will eventually catch up with us. The things we make now might not hold up the test of time as marble sculptures have. In his work, van Woert attempts to reconcile what it means to uphold the past visually, but not in terms of raw materials.
In the creation of Autobiography, the photographer Jacinda Russell was inspired by collectors and hoarders, those compelled by the impulse to save seemingly insignificant objects as markers of meaningful experience. Driven by the photographic impulse to catalog her own life, she turned to what she calls “inconsequential objects are one aspect of [her] identity, easily disposable yet somehow kept:” cut hair, an old toy, fallen teeth.
Each meticulously-shot object serves as a tangible reminder of a particular section of her life; for example, the artist tracks the years from 2000-2007 with hair and swimsuits. The obsessive lens through which she views each cherished object expresses the desperate impulse to fix moments and spans of time within discernible possessions. Like a catalog of carefully pinned butterflies, each object is preserved multiple times over: once they are set aside, they are vacuum-sealed or placed in jars, only to be framed in the center of each shot with unnerving precision. Russell’s high-resolution shots scrupulously reveal and memorialize even the smallest details: the fibers of towels, the stains on clothing, the remarkable tonality of nail clippings.
The narrative of the series is hard to follow, and therein lies its power; the viewer is tasked with the impossible exercise of constructing a life between bookend-like photographs of chopped hair. What emerges from the powerful work is not the objects themselves, or even whatever personal and mysterious experiences they might symbolize, but the artist’s movingly frantic and ultimately futile attempt to immortalize what is already gone. Take a look. (via Lenscratch)
Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds is probably one of the best-known balloon installations. Silver Clouds was first created with the help of engineer Billy Klüver and incorporated into other works, such as Merce Cunningham’s 1968 Rainforest. Re-made many times since its first installment, the mercurial piece is a favorite of many.
German choreographer William Forsythe created an amazing installation called Scattered Crowd that consisted of thousands of white balloons. Seeking to reflect the concept of human decision, Forsythe wanted visitors to consider how they chose to maneuver through the piece.
Madrid-based street artist, SpY has been creating urban interventions for over two decades. His “balloon boy” is both humorous and surprising.
First created in 1998 and re-created several times Half the Air in a Given Space by Martin Creed is comprised of thousands of balloons. Always the same color, the installation is mean to be clever, fun and interactive.
South Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa created an installation called Life/Life, consisting of over 10,000 balloons at Gallery Central in Australia. The beautiful installation was made all the more powerful for its ephemeral nature.