The end of 2013 is just around the corner and we are in the mode of individually and collectively reflecting back on the past year and looking towards the coming year. The List is one of the ways we do this and the practice of making lists is in full force right now. Lists like 50 Best Albums of 2013, Top Five Artists To Watch In 2014, Highest Paid Actors/Actresses Of The Year, the classic new years resolutions lists, and so on, are everywhere. We are obsessed with lists. And as I personally began compiling categorical articles that are essentially lists in their own right on Beautiful Decay in 2013, covering topics like 8 Heavy Metal Artists and 6 Artists Who Work With Trash, I felt it only appropriate to finish the year with a list based article covering artists who have used the format of the list in their artworks.
Nicola Ókin Frioli’s award winning series of photographs documenting “Muxes”, Mexico’s transgendered community that is celebrated as a symbol of good luck.
“They drink beer, they are part of local governement and they are symbol of good luck for their family: they are Muxes, homosexuals of the “pueblo oaxacaqueno de Juchitan”, more than 3000 homosexuals who enjoy respect and admiration in all the country.
Los Muxes (in zapotec language means homosexual)are considered as a blessing in Juchitan and you can count almost 3000 of them.
According to a taxi-driver, there is a homosexual in every family and Muxes themselves assert to be “fallen fron a broken pocket of San Vicente Ferrer” the patron saint of Juchitan,during his holy walk over the town (a local expression to say they are lucky, chosen people).
It is a luck for a homosexual to be born in Juchitan, where in a population of 160.000 people, the most of them feel respect for Muxes, while they walk proudly in the streets, dressed as women with huipiles and enaguas, typical dress of the Tehuantepec Isthmus.
The homosexuals of Juchitan have gained a place in economical and political activities, normally reserved to men.
They are ownersof shops,they work in hospitals, they are successful stylists of the typical local dresses and owners of beauty salons.
A resident in Juchitan says ”Thanks to God, we have one of them in every family… they are like women, they work as a man, but they wash, cook, clean the house and when the other sons will get married and leave, they will stay and look after their old parents”.
“A lady living here, has accepted a son muxes… and then she has winned the lottery.. it is a real blessing. .everybody shoul accept them as they are.. in every place they are”.
Carlos Lopez Toledo, municipal concellor, explains that when a family relizes that a child has a bent for homosexuality, they treat him as a lucky charme, because Muxes are good producers.
“A lot of us are in this way, because our parents have converted us and treated as female “says Felina, a 36 years old Muxes, owner of an Estetica (beauty salon). ”I’m not a man.. I’m not a woman.. I’m a Muxes and there is place for everyboby in the Vineyard of Lord “.
Mistica, 27 years old, makes traditional dresses “When I was a child, I used to play with my sisters,I dressed as a woman and Imade myself up… my mother was happy and used to say she would like a son muxes… My father didn’t accept immediately and decided to bring me to to the farm with my brothers… but once arrived… I run to pick up flowers…- Nicola Ókin Frioli (via feature shoot)
New Zealand-based artist Karley Feaver creates assemblages that involve a mixture of stuffed birds and various costume-like adornment ( human hair, gold plated metal, wood, and more). The artist claims that the animals she uses are ethically sourced and have died of natural causes.
Through her grotesque yet beautiful sculptures, the artist explores the idea of transformation and adornment, as her current interests rest in nature’s ability to survive in different forms by adapting, adjusting, and mutating into an increasingly man-made environment.
She intends to make these birds look other-worldly. Interestingly enough, she is successful at doing this by using materials that we are very familiar with (human hair, gold, and wood). She makes an interesting juxtaposition between the natural and the unnatural, the familiar and the unfamiliar- specifically to make a point about the unnatural efforts animals (in general) have to make in order to survive in a man-made environment.
Through the ages people have made beautiful things for themselves and others by using materials from their nearby environment. Birds are known to do the same, especially when seeking to attract a mate. Feaver’s new works bring the image of beauty almost to the edge of absurdity, their appearance is both bizarre and extraordinary, unlike any other creature on earth.
(via Brown Paper Bag)
Tobias Hutzler, a photographer / director based in New York City, creates photographs that showcase sculpture-like forms outlined by live human bodies. The unusual portraits, (because I have no idea of what else to call them) feature men and women in skin toned underwear, posing on top, near, and next to each other in strange, and involved poses.
It is interesting to note that Hutzler instructs his subjects to pose in intricate positions with in each other on top of a stand (one that would usually hold a sculpture in a museum/gallery space). This detail further assures the viewer that he/she is indeed witnessing a sculpture of some sort. Hutzler is also interested in portraying ‘different shades of color’, meaning that he includes people of varied skin tonalities, and I assume, different nationalities as well.
Hutzler creates these large-scale photographs by using a unique technical approach, resulting in images that are printed as they are shot, without manipulation. Photographing with small-scale digital sensors, Hutzler achieves a distinctive digital noise quality, allowing for the characteristics of raw digital technique to have a powerful effect on the final photograph.
“This photographic approach builds tension between the large-scale scenes and the digital noise and fragments, resulting in an aesthetic beauty of its own, contrary to aiming for higher resolutions and dynamic range. My photography is searching for a truth between the aesthetic of the medium and the subject matter of the image.”
(via Inhale Mag)
I realize that Christmas is officially over, but to maintain that holiday spirit for as long as possible I wanted to write about Yrjo Edelmann. Hailing from Sweden, Edelmann worked as a comic strip illustrator for many years until he started to paint. His “parcels” became his signature and caught my eye as exceptional trompe-l’ oeil images. At first I thought they were just giant, poorly wrapped presents, but upon closer inspection I learned that they are in fact impressively intricate oil paintings.
Occupying a space between illusion and hyper-realism Edelmann’s paintings pull from the influences of surrealists such as Rene Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico and Marcel Duchamp. Capturing every wrinkle and tear in the paper Edelmann’s paintings float a few inches off the wall, furthering the confusion about their dimension. A viewer might wonder what’s inside these rather poorly wrapped packages, endowing Edelmann’s paintings with a sense of both mystery and humor.
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British photographer Vikram Kushwah recreates pieces of the past with staged photography. Working with fashion designer, writer, and researcher Trisha Sakhlecham, the two produced a series of images titled Memoirs of Lost Time. The subject matter, its tone, and coloring of the photographs are a dreamy and hazy. They straddle the fine line between what is a dream and what is a memory. Each image features a person gazing beyond the landscape, as though they are longing for something lost.
On his website, Kushwah writes about Memoirs of Lost Time. He says that the series is inspired by the romantic notions of childhood memories, and goes on to say:
…A biographical documentation of sorts, of seven creative personalities’ childhood recollections, this book captures not only what was, but also suggests a very imaginative take on what could have been.
Stories evocative of the intimate moments and bygone days of these personalities are embellished with wondrously staged pictures featuring the subjects themselves. Each chapter takes you into the personal and never seen before world of one of these personalities with a short story, an insightful interview and photographs, weaving in and out of reality, where you start beginning to drift into a realm of imaginative possibilities and yet remain attached to the facts that were.
With dreams, like distant memories, we sometimes question whether or not something actually happened. While this could be distressing, Kushwah chooses to embrace uncertainty and magic of it all. There are some fantastical elements, like a woman that is carried away by small umbrellas. But mostly, these images lack action. Instead, they depict quiet moments in the company of many books or the vast outdoors. Reading and nature provide the perfect fodder for imaginations to run wild. (Via My Modern Met)
Andrew Lyman, an artist and photographer living and working in Savannah, Georgia, creates “Fleeted Happenings”, a series in which the artist explores “the transcendence of memory through time in relation to space.”
These photographs envision the ephemerality of the body. Especially the reality of it being able to be in a state of being and becoming, of transcendence and disappearing. The photos feature ghostlike silhouettes that appear in scenic landscapes and surroundings that evoke feelings of nostalgia, but also of the sublime. The vast, endless, and empty spaces, not only seem beautiful because of its brilliant hues, but they also evoke fear, and anxiety, as these still remain unknown. Similarly, the transparent silhouettes suggest more of the same feelings. We are enthralled by their beauty and mysteriousness, yet, as we look at them, we acknowledge the possibility our body existing as a non-tangible, transparent form. Consequently, this brings forth questions of life after death, life before existence, and the reality of past memory an non-tangible ‘object’. As we look at these transparent, other-worldly, yet familiar forms, we have no other choice but to think about how one re-imagines memory; specifically how we envision a memory and its existence in a certain space at a given time in the past. (Via Feather of Me)