Documentary photographer Cristina de Middel’s striking new series, This is What Hatred Did, displays a collection of beautifully cinematic photographs that bend the boundary between reality and magic. Her photographs are both playful, yet inherently insightful. The series acts as a photographic narrative of Amos Tutuola’s book, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts,” a novel loosely based on Yoruba folklore. Written in child’s prose, the book follows a 5 year old Nigerian child whose village was attacked by soldiers, leaving him without his mother, and provoking him to flee in order to avoid the chaos. He manages to find his way into a magical bush where no humans are allowed. The novel follows him for 30 years, during which he achieves many states of being. Tutuola’s book, published in 1964, caused him to flee the country due to a violent reaction, leading him to open a new path for African literature. Cristina de Middel explains the series; she states:
“The series “This Is What Hatred Did” (derived from the mysterious last sentence of the book) aims to provide an illustrated contemporary version of the book, adapting the characters, and ambiance to the current situation of the country. The “Bush” is now the Lagosian neighborhood of Makoko, a floating slum with its own rules, commanded by Kings and community leaders, often the subject of popular media coverage. A place where logic does not prevail and forbidden for those who do not belong. With the conviction that contemporary issues should be described in a way that includes the agent’s traditions, perspectives, fears, and hopes, this series documents the enhanced reality of one of the most iconic places in Nigeria.”
Cristina de Middel, a spanish born artist now living on London, is known for her important, self-published photo book, The Afronauts, 2012.
Cecelia Webber‘s collage work features tessellated figures and limbs of the human body arranged to form images of plants and animals. Webber photographs nude models – including herself – in various poses before she digitally edits the images, cutting and coloring them to form particular parts of the new image. The final product features different bodies and body parts posed in the same positions. Many of the pieces take months to finish, but the longest image – the rose – took her a year to complete because of how tricky the angles were to capture and arrange. Webber creates an image with such a high resolution that they can be printed up to 6 feet tall, a size that would make the tessellated bodies even more pronounced and captivating.
“Each image takes many stages to create. I start by researching photos of the creature or plant I’m trying to create and then sketch poses I want to photograph in a notebook…I never warp my models or edit them to change them – it is important to me to portray real natural bodies. Once I have my photos I start laying out my piece and playing with colour and arrangements…Many drastic transformations take place during this stage, so it’s sort of magical, because so many different variations are possible. I feel many possibilities at once but the true form of my subject slowly emerges.” (via daily mail)
3D superhero The Sicksystems (also known as Moscow-based artist Aske) has just updated his portfolio with some awesome new work, both personal and commissioned. The Sicksystems is near and dear to our hearts, as he has designed multiple t-shirts for B/D Apparel, including Brick by Brick and Masters of Disaster. If you like what you see, check out his brand new works, and own a piece of the action with his (nearly sold-out) limited edition B/D Apparel designs!
There’s a pretty great pair of painting shows on the Lower East Side in NYC at Dodge Gallery. Ted Gahl is in the front room with his cryptic, interpretive and symbolic paintings. I was drawing with him once, and he drew something that looked like a mysterious jelly bean, using a marker on construction paper. I was curious so I asked Ted what it was, and told me it was a car mirror reflecting the driver. Go Figure is group show curated by Eddie Martinez, and it has a bunch of artists that have appeared on Beautiful/Decay’s website and in the book series. There is some very choice work too, it’s interesting to see the work together as well. After the jump you can see work by Allison Schulnik, Erik Parker, Jamison Brosseau, and Jose Lerma. Both shows are up until November 13th.
I am transfixed to Jason Matthew Vivona’s dense, psychedelic portfolio of work. There is just so much going on! At first glance I thought I saw a parade of body organs, but upon closer inspection, I noticed beautiful works of intricate detailing, patterns, colors, etc. It’s kind of difficult to imagine this is all from tea, wine, coffee, or whatever Jason was drinking at the time. I wonder what he is drinking right now…
Artist Nelly Ben Hayoun’s The Other Volcano tries to question the domestication of nature for entertainment purposes (not your middle school baby egg in this case): “How would you deal with a live volcano in the middle of your living room? Would you try to destroy it? Would you just disconnect it from the mains? Would you be more popular because you share your life with a volcano? Would you invite people to see it, and switch it on at the end of the meal to create a ‘surprising’ effect?” Beware, the pet will sit for a couple weeks in select volunteers’ living rooms.
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Made from found objects and discarded clothing, Danny Treacy creates these haunting stiff figures that seemingly link Frankenstein and trash. In the “Them” series, this London based artist successfully creates a sculpture that is full of contradictions, Treacy describes these creatures as “soiled and stained and perfectly formed,victors and the victims, true and false.”