Check out the artwork of Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki. “Not only are his small buildings and electrical towers excruciatingly small and delicate, but they also rest on absurdly mundane objects: rolls of tape, a haphazardly wrinkled towel, or from the bristles of a discarded toothbrush. Only on close inspection do the small details come into focus, faint hints of urbanization sprouting from disorder.” (via).
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Alexandra Grant. See the full studio visit and interview with Alexandra and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Alexandra’s studio is in the historic West Adams district of Los Angeles, just a short distance from Koreatown and Downtown. From the outside her building looks like a non-descript, kind of funky commercial space that in no way expresses how big her studio actually is. The place is huge with a cavernous feel to it— cold, shadowy, and resounding with echoes, it heightened every one of my senses. Everything I took in seemed exaggerated: the damp air, the bright fluorescent lights, the vibrant colors of Alexandra’s paintings, and the steady rhythm of her voice. Long after our visit those impressions continued to linger, as did much of my conversation with Alexandra. She is a force to be reckoned with— her brain is agog with ideas that she expresses in a continuous flow of conversation, often jumping from one thought to the next as they wildly run through her mind. Her energy is infectious and inspiring, and makes you feel like the world is in fact full of promise, insight and adventure. Many of Alexandra’s paintings are collaborations with writers and their ideas, which makes sense because she appreciates the complex nature of dialogue: the exchange of both concepts and language, the act of deciphering and interpreting, the twists of subtext, and the inevitable losses in translation and how we make up for them. By borrowing writers’ poetic language she utilizes the format of dialogue to create “conversation” between image and text. In engaging text and image this way, the work then becomes a liminal space that challenges the viewer’s ability to perceive and hold both elements at once.
Young Hungarian photographer Noell Oszvald creates elegantly surreal images. Her black and white photographs resemble mid-century fashion photography as much as it does the work of her surrealist influences. Severe contrasts between light and dark create graceful lines and a definite composition for each piece. In this way each image is intriguing, not only for its dreamy content but also because they are simply pleasing to look at. Perhaps what is most surprising, though, is the fact Oszvald’s relationship with the camera is relatively new. Only twenty-two years old Oszvald has only been using the medium for a little over a year. [via]
Donna Ruff lives and works in New York. With her local paper as a starting point, she makes intricate repetitive cuts until an elaborate pattern emerges. The result resembles ornamental doilies and other textiles. Because she is doing this to current newspapers one could read into the work as a comment on censorship and alteration of truth within national news. From her bio: “Using unconventional techniques to make densely patterned drawings that refer to calligraphy and natural forms, she finds beauty and inspiration in sacred texts such as the Torah and the Qur’an, but also in the New York Times and the Manhattan phone book; in cathedrals, mosques and synagogues, but also in the warehouses of Chicago and Brooklyn.” (via)
The work of Scott Young is a playful turn on food photography. His fruits and vegetables seem not so much delicious as rebellious. Young photographs various produce covered with studs usually found on clothing. He mixes the language of punk rock fashion with that of food photography to in a way that each undermines the other. The simple idea is strangely amusing. The disparate context of each crash together to create a new one that seems to somehow make sense in its own way.
Guy Laramee delicately cuts caverns through the centers of books. He carves the pages away to reveal caves that seem to be ready to be explored. His work explores the insides of books in a very literal way. Indeed, Laramee’s sculptures in way recall the plot of a classic: Journey to the Center of the Earth. And, in fact, Laramee mentions this book in his statement on the series. He says:
“Like in Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, we seem to be chained to this quest. We “have to” know what lies inside things. But in doing so, we bury ourselves in the “about-ness” of our productions – language, function, etc- all things “about” other things.”
You do remember electronic duo Matmos, don’t you? They’re the DJ’s that worked with Björk on Vespertine and also toured with her around the world, that’s how I first heard of them anyway. Well, they just released a new album, The Marriage of True Minds on Thrill Jockey earlier this week and from their press release it looks like it could be something very special.
“The Marriage Of True Minds is Matmos’ first new full-length album in five years and follows 2012′s The Ganzfeld EP, which was the culmination of four years of parapsychological experiments based on the Ganzfeld (“total field”) experiment. Test subjects were put into a state of sensory deprivation by covering their eyes and listening to white noise on headphones, and then Matmos member Drew Daniel attempted to transmit “the concept of the new Matmos record” directly into their minds. The resulting transcripts of the videotaped psychic experiments became poetic and conceptual scores used by Matmos to generate the nine songs on this album, which prominently features vocalists and voices for the first time in Matmos’ work. Guest musicians include Dan Deacon, Dominique Leone, DJ Dog Dick, Leslie Weiner and Holger Hiller (Palais Schaumberg), Jason Willett (Half Japanese), Angel Deradoorian, Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) and more.”
See what I mean? The whole project sounds incredible and they’re currently on tour in the U.S. with only a handful of shows left, including a date at Public Works in San Francisco on Sunday, February 24th and a show at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Monday, February 25th. The last two shows before heading to Europe in March are at The ND in Austin, TX on February 28th and Zanzabar in Louisville, KY on March 2nd.
Check out their amazing version of the Buzzcocks‘ ESP that was shot live at Thrill Jockey’s 20th Anniversary show last September in Baltimore where they are currently based. This should cement the idea of seeing one of their upcoming shows.
Need to brighten your day? Get ready. This is a stop motion music video from animation duo Katarzyna Kijek and Przemysław Adamski for Japanese singer-songwriter Shugo Tokumaru. Inspired by an everlasting chain of memories, It features a continuous parade of about 2000 silhouettes extracted from PVC plates set to Tokumaru’s quirky track Katachi (which means “shape” in Japanese). Really. I dare you to be sad after watching this.