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Virginia Mori’s Dark, Surreal Illustrations Of Headless Women

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Italian illustrator Virginia Mori uses black ballpoint pen and pencil on paper to create strange, lady-centric compositions. The minimal drawings feature long-haired women in surreal situations. Heads are often seen severed or parts of the body are fused with furniture. Although they are weird, Mori’s work isn’t gruesome. Even when a umbrella handle is coming out of a character’s mouth, there’s no blood or guts. It’s simply a surreal scene.

Mori separates mind from body, in both literal and figurative ways. Heads are rolling, they exist on different levels, and are obstructed by hair. It represents the idea that we can “disconnect” our mental from our physical self, and that this separation can feel like two entities. But in Mori’s illustrations, what causes it? Mystics? Physical ailments? Lessons not learned? The sparse compositions allow for multiple interpretations.

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Sacha Goldberger’s “Super Flemish” Portrays 17th Century Superheroes

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Sacha Goldberger‘s done it again, capturing the spark of magic realism in a world similar to his Super Grandma series. This time, his photographs look like snapshots from an alternate super-history: one where Captain America poses for a 17th Flemish painter, the Hulk is super fancy, and Wolverine struggles mightily to dress himself in the morning. The series, called “Super Flemish,” shows a softer side of iconic childhood heroes and villains. Rather than valiant, Batman strikes a contemplative pose; beside him is a stoically dignified Robin. Alice of Wonderland fame seems grown up and wiser, perhaps having taken some of her own advice. Hands folded modestly, Wonderwoman looks almost docile.

“The collection demonstrates the use of 17 century techniques counterpointing light and shadow to illustrate nobility and fragility of the super powerful of all times,” reads the artist’s statement. “… The superheroes often live their lives cloaked in anonymity. These portraits give them a chance to ‘fix’ their narcissism denied.”

Goldberger’s photo series reframes modern heroes in a way that’s almost mundane but still removed enough by a handful of centuries so as to seem magical. Instead of fighting world-eaters and galactic villains, one could imagines them instead taking tea in the garden and brooding over their eighth praline — or whatever it is that’s hip in the county of Flanders.

He also pulls back the mask to show something undeniably human. “As science fiction meets history of art,” Goldberger says, “time meets an inexhaustible desire for mythology which is within each of us.”

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Hickory Mertsching’s Picturesque Paintings On The Beauty Of Nature And Garbage

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Portland painter Hickory Mertsching has a penchant for life, death and nature: both wild and man-made. His still lifes, done in oil, showcase a confluence of symbolism with many conflicting elements. Throughout his work, one sees a running commentary of environmental negligence, and human impact through littering and deforestation. Animals juxtaposed with crushed beer cans and chainsaws showcase not only the symbolic reference of destruction but also the aesthetics of defacing the environment through litter and clear-cutting. The animals interact, oblivious to the objects, as in real life: nature cannot defend itself nor comment on our treatment of it.

It is hard to view Mertsching’s paintings without feeling a paroxysm of guilt toward existing and participating in a time of such extreme usability; within a culture that bulldozes through natural resources, sidelines scientific research in the name of profit and economic interests, everyone meets a moment where they have to wonder just how bad their impact is on the world and what they could be doing differently.

Even so, Mertsching’s paintings focus on a larger set of paradoxes than just that. There is the implied confusion within viewing the animals, of which it is uncertain whether they are alive or dead. Many of the landscapes, some on fire and under immediate threat, are not fully realized and hover curiously within the white, negative space of the canvas. The direct confrontation between life force and waste, is beautifully arranged and painted in such a light that the garbage gains an antique presence, a glowing look, one that only highlights the ridiculousness of how we treat our environment.

Mertsching’s words on his own work:

“My paintings are about illustrating and presenting unavoidable natural realities by utilizing mundane objects as symbols. The realities constantly challenge our existence and are powerful enough to be beyond our control, always offering more to wonder and question. Such as the rise and fall of a garden in the span of summer it offers sustenance but requires toil for any reward of consumption. Within this cycle all allegorical manners of life occur, crossing paths, pursuits of enlightenment, conflicts of survival, and the passing of time.”

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Cathrine Ertmann Confronts Death With Her Powerful Photo Essay From the Morgue

Muscular stiffening begins between four and twelve hours after death. It starts in the neck and makes movement of the limbs impossible. When it reaches the scalp, it can make the dead body’s hair rise. Like goose bumps on the living.

Muscular stiffening begins between four and twelve hours after death. It starts in the neck and makes movement of the limbs impossible. When it reaches the scalp, it can make the dead body’s hair rise. Like goose bumps on the living.

 His breast isn’t moving. The cells in his body have carried out the last of their work, the mechanisms have come to a halt and he is now not going to get any older.

His breast isn’t moving. The cells in his body have carried out the last of their work, the mechanisms have come to a halt and he is now not going to get any older.

In the chapel of the Pathological Institute of Aarhus University Hospital, the dead are received. Here they are dressed in clothes, their hair is combed and they are laid in the coffin, before we can say our last goodbye to those we have lost.

In the chapel of the Pathological Institute of Aarhus University Hospital, the dead are received. Here they are dressed in clothes, their hair is combed and they are laid in the coffin, before we can say our last goodbye to those we have lost.

Here are lying women and men, girls and boys on ice, because they were careless, because they were unlucky, or because their time was come. This woman was found dead in her home. She has just been through an autopsy, which confirmed that she didn’t die the victim of a crime. Soon her body will be dressed and laid in the coffin.

Here are lying women and men, girls and boys on ice, because they were careless, because they were unlucky, or because their time was come. This woman was found dead in her home. She has just been through an autopsy, which confirmed that she didn’t die the victim of a crime. Soon her body will be dressed and laid in the coffin.

These photos of the dead are purposefully anonymous. In “About Dying” Danish photographer Catherine Ertmann was aiming for the universality of death rather than the stories of these particular dead. And that’s what makes this series so moving. In photographing the dead so intimately, bare of everything, including their life stories, she has made room for the viewer in the morgue—as observer and as deceased. Who doesn’t project themselves into the sewn torso, the half-clenched hand, the freckled cheek? Will it be the zipped bag or the fiery crematorium in the end? How can we live fully if we can’t look at death?

“This project tries to break down the taboo by showing something we rarely have access to, and that death can be both hard to look an but also beautiful. Just like when a new life comes into the world when a woman is giving birth. It deals with the incomprehensible fact that life ends and hopefully remind the audience that our time here is precious and what things really matter while we are here.”

This project was approved by Aarhus Universitets Hospital (University Hospital of Aarhus, Denmark), where she and journalist Lise Hornung worked.

The only complete certainty in life is that one day we will die. It is the most certain thing in the world, and the biggest uncertainty we experience of the world, because nobody can say what will happen afterwards. Maybe that is why we find it so difficult to speak about death.

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Oddly Head’s Incredibly Intricate Prints Made From Thousands Of Tiny Vintage Images

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These amazing lithograph prints are not only labor intensive and beautifully detailed, they are also playful and humorous. Artist Oddly Head has quite obviously spent a lot of time by himself cutting out images, arranging them into remarkable forms with funny narratives and transferring them into print. Working with mostly retro images, he cleverly fits his cut outs into a variety of silhouettes and shapes.

Taking advantage of their bright colors and pop aesthetic, Oddly Head creates eye-catching picture explosions. He turns a large collection of different guns into a radiating image, one that seems to be anthropomorphic and with it’s sights set on the viewer. In another print he has layered different cutouts of trains on top of each other, all rushing out from a black hole in the center of the picture, expressing some sort of urgency. Or in another, we see a gathering of women – all severed at the head and frozen in animated screams, focused on a woman in the center, as if she is the reason for their fear and horror.

With titles like ‘Hollywood’, ‘Licked’, ‘The Happiest Place On Earth When There Is No Tomorrow’, ‘Getting The Fuck Out Of Dodge’, Oddly Head’s prints are tinged with a cynicism as he questions the structure of systems around us. And what a beautiful way to do it. See more of his work in detail after the jump.

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Tsuyoshi Tane’s Shimmering And Immersive Installation Using 80,000 Watch Parts

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As part of Milan Design Week 2014, Citizen teamed up with Paris-based architect Tsuyoshi Tane (DGT) to create “LIGHT is TIME,” an immersive installation of 80,000 watch base plates. The result is a shimmering space, golden and ethereal, delicate and glowing.

“We envision a space-orchestration where light will fill the space, composing, through sound and vision, a sense of light and time never experienced by humanity before. In this exhibition, we have created a space of light and excavated within it three primary volumes to exhibit everything from CITIZEN’s first pocket watch as the company’s origin, through to the latest satellite watches.”Suspended from the ceiling, the golden watch base plates, the basic component of watches, are reminiscent of droplets of suspended rain. The sense of suspended animation conveys the idea of time and timelessness. It’s when time stops that you become most conscious of it.

“LIGHT is TIME” won “Best Entertaining” and “Best Sound” in the Milano Design Award Competition, and was so successful that a reconfigured version was brought to Japan and shown at The Aoyama Spiral in Tokyo.

“Time is light. If there were no light, then there would be no time. In the 20th century mankind digitized time, measured it and continued to economize our time, until eventually we forgot about its relationship with essence of light. Without light we never would have had the wonders of the universe, the richness of our planet or the joy and pleasure of our life.” (Via demilked)

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Cyber Monday Markdowns: 25% off all B/D store purchases

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For Cyber Monday we are giving all our faithful readers 25% off all purchases on our brand new Beautiful/Decay shop !

NEWLY ADDED ITEMS include our classic B/D shirts and our Burger And Friends wallet collaboration. We have extremely limited quantities of all these products so be sure to get them while you still can! We are also fully stocked with our limited edition art books and have dozens of newly released posters to cover your drab white walls.

Department store is dead, Beautiful/Decay is alive for your holiday season. Happy shopping!

 

 

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Polly Penrose’s Seven Years Of Powerful Nude Self Portraits

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Photographer Polly Penrose’s series A Body of Work was produced over the course of seven years. Her intention was to take pictures of strong, powerful, and interesting nude portraits. So, how did she achieve that? By using herself as a model. Penrose explains in an email to Beautiful/Decay:

…I was always available, and then because I realised something interesting was happening. I could push myself further than I could other models, and by shooting myself the pictures became a visual autobiography. The pictures are very spontaneous within the space, I never plan them I just work with what’s there, it’s like a secret conversation between myself and the space, a bit of silent theatrics which I document. Looking back I can see that my state of mind at the time of shooting definitely feeds into the imagery, my choice of pose and the general mood of the picture.

Penrose sees A Body of Work as ongoing, and that this simply marks its first seven years. “…I want to keep taking them until I can no longer move to do it – it will be interesting to see my body age and how the poses and locations will change with it.” Her photographs showcase a long time, but still relatively short in terms of an entire life span. We see just some of the changes a body goes through in that time and are intrigued with what the next seven will bring.

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