Viola’s plaid suitcase was empty except for this tiny scrap of paper.
When Willard Psychiatric Center in New York’s Finger Lakes area closed its doors in 1995, staff member Bev Courtwright made a miraculous discovery. Tucked away in the attic were a collection of over 400 abandoned suitcases containing the possessions of their original owners before they were committed to the institution. Photographer Jon Crispin began documenting the collections of belongings in 2011, offering a poignant look into the lives of the people who entered this place (and often never left).
The patients and their suitcases arrived at the Center between 1910 and 1960. Since many of them were treated for chronic mental illness, it wasn’t uncommon that patients died while in the hospital and were buried in the graveyard across the street. If no family member came to claim their belongings, they were taken and stored in the room where Courtwright eventually found them.
The suitcases and trunks vary in their contents, of course, and some were more robustly-packed than others. This fascinating series that examines the objects we hold sacred and what we’re personally attached to, as strange as they may seem. Crispin’s website sheds light on the individual stories of each patient, and in a way memorializes those who owned them. (Via Let’s Get Lost. H/T Meighan O’Toole)
A London Royal College Of Art student named Simin Qiu has designed a water faucet that will dazzle you in more ways than one. By placing specific grooves inside a faucet’s pipe he not only conserves one of the world’s most precious commodities but also manipulates it to pour out in beautiful lattice-like patterns. The project was conceived by Qiu in an attempt to make water use in the home not only more aesthetically enjoyable but also user and conservatively sound as well. The end result not only makes the water look more interesting but it also comes out in a gentler, fresher way from the pipe.
For his efforts, Qiu won the 2014 IF Student award. The prize is awarded annually to students or recent University graduates in 7 design categories including product, packaging, photography and fashion to name a few. It holds not only prestige but awards the winner a generous 30,000 euros in prize money.
The official name of Qiu’s product is “The Swirl Faucet” and in the last week or so word of it has gone viral on several prominent design blogs. (via boredpanda)
While Gareth Pugh’s latest collection for Spring 2010 explores a more “mature” experimentation with diaphonous fabrics and a more subdued tone on tone, I prefer his more outlandish, performative sculptural fashion pieces from past seasons. You can’t beat his futuristic death-metal cube-hesher above, seemingly harbinging the coming of Y2K through Swarovski crystals. Or an entire stole made out of white mink-mice replete with red eyes, fit for some ghastly rodent Ice Queen from a savage Viking town….
Born in Vietnam but raised in the USA, illustrator Tran Nguyen earned her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2009. Fascinated with the human psyche and interested in the psychologically therapeutic potential of art, Nguyen’s creations are often surreal, dream-like scenes. Sometimes tree stumps have eyes, twigs grow through ear canals, and miniature figures live in the folds of a gown. Besides being visually arresting, often the titles of her works are quite intriguing as well — for instance, “I Came Across a Wilting Cognition” (seen above), “We Vomit Carcasses of Unattended Thoughts,” and “Living Parallel To an Infectious Pigment,” to select a few.
Amii Stewart, disco legend, and starring in possibly one of the most decadent music videos I’ve seen. I’m not sure what the pinnacle of video technology dictated in the late-late 70s but digital media artists like John Whitney were already starting to make fairly advanced films out of just graphics programming as early as the ’60s. “Knock on Wood” lyrics are after the jump if you were so inclined to watch the video and sing along…
French artist Frédéric Fontenoy is enamored with the human form. In his striking photography, he explores different representations of the body and eroticses, or ostracizes it’s different parts. In his new series Metamorphosis, he manipulates his photographic medium and produces images of bodies that are stretched, extended and disfigured. His snaps look like they are of weird aliens passing through earthly landscapes.
Being raised surrounded by artistic and political family members, Fontenoy quickly identified with a particular artist that he felt embodied his own ideals. Hans Bellmer’s The Anatomy of the Image, continues to be a major inspiration for the artist. Here he reflects on his own practice:
I always created erotic work, since I started taking pictures: first more intimate, then evolving into a more conceptual work, a photographic fiction, referring to our collective unconscious. The mindset of my photography is erotic, but a photo itself doesn’t have to arouse lust. (Source)
Throughout his 20-something year career of taking photos, Fontenoy not only works with different narratives that are connected to the body, he also includes himself in the situation and reflects on his own involvement as a fellow person. He sees the relevance of having himself somehow reflected in his images:
[The] crucial point of these “scenes of the darkroom”: the photographer is also in the frame, the main male character. Grand officer of these stagings, this double devilishly imaginative and wicked madness seems to make its most ambitious expression, which is Art. (Source)
The woodlands, backyards and mountain fields David Hornung paints can feel like elegies for lost friends. Conversely, much of the work is contagiously, imaginatively playful. These paintings can be read in contradictory ways; simultaneously flat and deep, both graphic and luminous. Hornung does this purposefully, because “picture making can be as paradoxical as life itself.” The invented settings evoke “memory, the flow of time, and, for lack of a better phrase, the sheer enigma of existence.” The light breaking on the horizon in “To S.P.” (above) is both beautiful and heartrendingly sad. What does it say about us when a sunset begs to be personified? You can see David’s work at Flowers Gallery in Chelsea from June 30 to July 31.