Raqib Shaw was born in Calcultta, India. He now lives in London where he graduated from Central St Martins School of Arts and based his house/studio in the South London neighborhood.
His work is mostly comprised of paintings. He uses a unique technique: he paints with a porcupine quill and car paint. Every motif is outlined in embossed gold, a technique similar to ‘cloisonné’ found in early Asian pottery, which is a source of inspiration.
The artist’s fantastical world is full of intricate details, rich colors, and jewel-like surfaces, masking an intense violent and sexual content. It’s an explosion of Western architecture (arches, columns, wall decorations), vibrant flora and unexpected animals that have human bodies (peacoks, ducks, roosters, reptiles).
The result from far is intoxicating; but as the viewer, you want to come closer and admire the beauty of the details. The paintings, which at first can feel overwhelming become fascinating in terms of color, shapes and harmony. Underneath the bizarre combinations of the figures, there is the celebration of a society free of moral restraint.
Raqib Shaw has added new paintings in this recent parisian exhibition. Three of them are self portraits, showing the artist in his house/studio. Although his own image never clearly appears, he made sure his favorite personal elements were recognizable: his dogs, views from his studio’s window, champagne bottles and his new bronze sculptures.
Raqib Shaw’s second solo exhibition is currently at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Paris, Marais location, until July 25th 2015.
Flemish photographer Sanne De Wilde enjoys telling a good anti-fairytale. She undertakes photographic journeys to track down and narrate stories that we don’t often hear about, or get to see. Her project Snow White captures a variety of people with Albinism. Characterized as skin, eyes and/or hair lacking in any pigment, Albinism is still quite rare and misunderstood. Many people are unsure how to react to it. De Wilde is aware that most people, when faced with something they don’t understand, they will alienate and shun that ‘abnormal’ thing. She wants to explore these feelings further and explore her own curiosity about this condition.
Like photographic material, people with albinism are light sensitive. Light leaves an irreversible imprint on their body. This whiteness that makes them stand out, when captured in an image, almost makes them dissolve, consumed by the light. Their eyes can hardly bear it. Nevertheless they have the power to look back at us, the viewer, and embody a human-mirror. (Source)
Her photographs are quiet, eerie and haunting. As she says, they act as a mirror for the viewer, and reflect whatever emotions we transfer on to them. It is a visual reminder that when we bully someone, it says more about the bully, rather than the bullied. These photographs say more about our society and our personal attitudes towards the ‘abnormal’ and ‘other’. She goes on to say:
They are a metaphor, a symbol for stereotypes, they magnify the erroneous idea of human weaknesses and physical fragility but also that of an invincible strength. Touched by their breath-taking beauty, in this series, I try to create a powerful impression of this fragile snow white. (Source)
De Wilde has also taken photographs of a tiny village in Southern China which has a high population of ‘little people’. You can see that series – The Dwarf Empirehere. (Via Beautiful Surface)
If you think your jackhammer and motorcycle make you look tough, just take a look at Theresa Honeywell’s knit accessories! What says “macho” better than tools and guns made out of knit fabric? This Washington D.C. native takes traditionally masculine objects, and gives them a feminine edge by creating them with knit and embroidery. By using methods that have previously been labeled a “feminine craft,” she sparks a dialogue on the masculine and feminine and what it means to align objects with these social constructs. Studying sculpture at university, she combines her talents in three-dimensional art with her interest in combining art and craft. The dichotomy between feminine and masculinity paired with art and craft challenges our pre-conceived notions of these themes.
It is interesting that knitting and embroidery have traditionally been perceived as feminine, when masculinity is often associated with labor-intensive tasks. These two techniques are in fact incredibly time consuming and require a lot of labor and skill. You can see the astonishing details includes in Honeywell’s work while examining every stitch and bead in her work. The artist even included the brand name of the jackhammer, and the pink and purple motorcycle is actually life size! Her intricate, delicate sculptures really show us the softer side of these “masculine” objects.
Nicolas Holiber works in the middle of unwanted pieces of wood and thrown away shipping pallets. He also recycles feathers, nails and found objetcs. In his Brooklyn based studio, he creates instinctively from this magical chaos. The result is expressive, colorful mixed media sculptures representing portraits and busts of kings. One of the most emblematic ones, Goliath; from the famous tale David and Goliath is currently installed at Tribeca Park, in the heart of New York.
The sculptures come alive after being assembled, destructed and rebuilt. The process is the same each time, no exceptions. Nicolas Holiber creates from doing; with the intent of building beautiful things from a mess. Give him trash, reclaimed wood and a couple of nails and he will be able to come up with a bold, vibrant and stimulating piece of art. He will only be satisfied when he can look at the piece over and over without feeling the urge to retouch it. But beware, beautiful and finished doesn’t mean perfect. He doesn’t want anything to look too figurative. His work has to feel new and exciting. Otherwise, It just doesn’t work for him.
Until recently, the artist used to create for his own pleasure. He still does but he now shares his work by teaching sculpting classes, attending residencies (the next one is scheduled for Spring 2016 at Governor’s Island) and showing his work to the art scene.
Nicolas Holiber’s Goliath is at Tribeca Park, New York City until July 2015.
Like ghosts working in the still of night the impressions of Simon Schubert appear as faint memories. Appearing as something akin to haunted palaces they linger on the surface like dim shadows under candlelight. Mainly using old architecture as subject matter the nuances Schubert attains have eerie effect. He uses interiors of old European buildings to accomplish this. Hallways, staircases and large rooms make up the narrative. The vague images are created by folding paper to create indentations resulting in stunning pictures which speak to loneliness, isolation and impermanence. At times the pictures look like they were created with light pencil marks. This is the remarkable accuracy by which Schubert folds the leaves which eventually turn into open ended stories.
Schubert has done several installations using the folded paper. These have included large pieces covering walls with the folded Images. These seem to take the viewer into another realm perhaps representative of what came before still lingering in another form.
Anna Mo is a Ukraine-based designer who has created a unique style of ultra-chunky knits. Whether she’s making blankets, hats, or other accessories — all of which you can buy online at her Etsy shop, “Ohhio” — the texture appears excessively magnified, making each item cozy and able to stylishly engulf the body. Working with 100% Australian merino wool, Anna even provides the yarn so you can create your own giant knits (although you’ll need the accompanying oversized wooden needles).
Anna’s mother taught her to knit at a very early age. Most days, Anna works on a computer as a designer. Knitting became a secret side project that allowed her to move from “head” (mental) work to “hands” work. In switching between these two modes, she allowed herself to save her energy and work hard at developing her knits. “Ohhio” began as an experiment with just a few items. “I’m happy that I made that experiment,” Anna wrote to Beautiful/Decay, as her shop has now blossomed into a full-time business.
Dutch artist Rosa Verloop uses nylon stockings and pins to create fleshy forms that look like newborns and octogenarians at the same time. She makes little folds, tucks and pleats in beige colored nylon so they resemble some strange sort of primordial life form. Working organically, she groups the stockings in different lumps and bumps and holds them in place with tiny stitches and tacks. Verloop’s sculptural faces are ones filled with deep-set wrinkles telling of well earned wisdom. Her human forms are contorted and twisted like they are in a state of being born or dying.
People in general experience these shapes as a deformation of the human body. For myself however, these are shapes with so much power, vulnerability and silence together–and therefore such inspiring–that I leave them in the way they came into being. I don’t change anything to these shapes or only very little. (Source)
Verloop not only creates and displays her human forms, but Verloop also participates in puppet events and shows with them. She performs alongside her sculptures, moving their appendages ever so slightly and mesmerizingly slow – like the creatures are dying in real time in front of the audience. The responses to her pieces range from disgust to wonderment. Verloop explains:
It’s amazing to see how some people observe with horror my sculptures while others are so attracted to get to touch them. […] As an artist, my intent is to spread a story, offering a feeling who stumbles into my sculptures. (Source)
Be sure to see more of her unique organic sculptures after the jump and decide for yourself if it’s attraction or repulsion.
Using themes of life and growth in nature, artist Myeongbeom Kim constructs stunning installations of surreal situations. His work often conveys a state of transition between two strange pairs, like he has stumbled upon bizarre metamorphoses frozen in time. Certain imagery is often repeated in Kim’s work, like deer, antlers, trees, and balloons. In one installation, a beautiful, still deer is acting as a trunk of a tree, with its antlers turning into tree branches. In another installation, it is an inanimate object like rope or a bed that is transforming into a plant. Kim’s use of balloons is rather different than his typical nature infused environment that he creates. Balloons act in fantastical, irrational ways in the artist’s work. They hold up a three-legged chair, a noose, and even a woman’s hair. Kim’s work revolving around themes of life and nature, organic elements can also be found included with his shiny, latex objects. In an incredible piece of Kim’s, a cloud of bright, red balloons float while a tree trunk and roots miraculously come forth from its cluster. This displacement of nature found in his work creates a dialogue with the viewer, evoking questions of life, death, and nature’s place in our lives.
Originally hailing from South Korea, the currently works between Seoul, South Korea and Chicago. He has exhibited all over the world and has installed his pieces in a variety of innovative spaces.