April Dauscha toys with subtle extremisms through her use of lace. Existing somewhere between performance art and fashion design, she wraps her tongue, her hands, and covers her eyes in various ways, half concealed beneath the delicately woven fabric. She makes tongue slips and singular gloves that she can put on, slowly, for the camera.
Some of the documentation is done through photographs, although there are also short videos which feature Dauscha, up close, putting things on her tongue. In this instance the work is quite phallic; sliding her tongue into the lace wrapping easily reminds one of a penis coming into contact with a condom. This wrapping, veiling, covering of the mouth in this particular manner seems an easy metaphor to an obstruction of either speech or individuality. She enters the fabric and is simultaneously entering an illusion, a changed version of herself. Neither fully obscured yet not limitless as before, her tongue is then partially concealed but operable. In yet another video she binds her tongue with a long piece of string, circling it around the tongue tightly, like a corset. Then she pulls the entire thing off. Dauscha attaches a lot of meaning to these pieces and movements:
“My making focuses on feminine objects and materials. Lace, veils, undergarments and hair adornment speak not only of womanhood, but also of the duality of human nature. Lace speaks of purity and sexuality, it reveals and conceals, it is humble, yet gluttonous in its ornamental overindulgence; lace is the ultimate dichotomy. I use it as a potent symbol to represent the duality of body and soul, right and wrong, good and evil. Historically, neglected, disheveled and unbound hair was a sign of mourning and penance, a physical representation of one’s sin and sorrow. In my work, hair comes to represent an uncomfortable binding of one’s self to one’s alter ego, while helping to
British architect/artist/technical wizard Alex Chinneck is at it again. We have written about his last project here on Beautiful/Decay, and his latest public sculpture is just as impressive as his others in the past. Known for creating strange, surreal interpretations of urban architecture (like a slouching building facade, and a levitating market building), Chinneck has a knack for surprising even the most cynical observers. Keeping with his habit for curious titles, his newest work is called A Pound Of Flesh For 50p and is visually as interesting as it’s label. Working for over a year with many different chemists, wax specialists and engineers, Chinneck has managed to build a house completely from wax.
Perfecting the art of replicating bricks from wax, he has completed another one of his ambitious projects, this one featuring over 8000 authentic looking bricks. He has built a two story building for London’s Merge Festival and it is definitely a sight to behold. Set to melt over the course of 30 days, this house will eventually be nothing but a pile of waxed lumps coagulated on the ground with pieces of window and door frames sticking out. Naturally, Chinneck has to manually set it alight to help the structure melt in the right way, assuring the disintegration happens at an even rate. The process will be something of a surreal slow motion break down of matter; where the wax will look like an organic disease spreading out down the building. The wax will consume itself – like something out of a bad B Grade horror movie.
Celebrating the Bankside district in London, this project links back to the original building on this site that was actually a candle-making factory a couple of hundred years before. (Via Fastcodesign)
Javier Perez is a commercial artist and designer who has been having a blast on Instagram creating quick and simple sketches that combine the 2D world with our own 3D reality. Perez obviously has a lot of fun playing around with different ways to combine the two visual effects and create a hybrid in the photograph, which makes it equally a joy to view. He uses his fingers, or objects like food, matches, toothpicks, and the like as the props for his drawings.
His bio on his website states:
My work is very simple and minimal. I want that the person can take a break of the saturation of the photos in general. I never imagine that the people of the world will love my illustrations. It’s amazing the thousands of messages and fanarts I receive.
“Create every day. No matter your skills.”
He brings up a really great point about saturation. We truly are bombarded with so much imagery, especially through the Internet, and so a great deal of the appeal of Perez’s work comes from its simplicity. It allows the viewer to breath and rest peacefully on the image. Each one is enjoyable and easily understood; there is no ambiguity or doubt as to what is going on. (Via Faith is Torment)
Mihai Marius Mihu, Heresy, from “The Nine Circles of Hell”
There’s a lot of impressive things built using LEGOs, and a lot of times the family-friendly toy stays PG in content. In Mike Doyle’s new book titled Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, however, the dozens of creations are more sinister in nature. The publication includes a number of MOCs (a community acronym that means “My Own Creation”) that feature the likes of a scary bear, an electric chair, giant insects, and more. The artworks are an interesting and entertaining spin on LEGOs as they venture into adult territory. And, since we’d usually think of them as something that’s more lighthearted, it makes even more of a visual and conceptual impact. Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark comes out next month. But if you enjoy these unconventional builds and want to see more of the now, be sure to check out its predecessor, also by Doyle. It’s titled Beautiful LEGO. (Via Wired)
While the term “heroin chic” emerged in the 1990s as a droll description of the trendy androgyny and grungy-yet-glamorous look of contemporaneous supermodels, artists Loral Amir and Gigi Ben Artzi present the expression through a literal lens with their series, Downtown Divas.
Comprised of a short film and photographic series, Downtown Divas presents heroin-addicted Russian prostitutes as they don designer clothing and pose for a reimagined fashion spread. Juxtaposing bruised legs, tired eyes, and aloof expressions with luxury materials, trendy ensembles, and elegant silhouettes, the striking photographs appear disjointed and disconcerting. Though aesthetically startling and indicative, they paint a very different picture from the corresponding short film. Comprised of candid interviews, the poignant film surprisingly does not focus on each woman’s hardships; Amir and Artzi sought, rather, to “show a different side of the women and ignore that ‘drug addict’ tag that they carry around” (Bullett). By strictly avoiding questions regarding their drug use or experiences as sex workers, Amir and Artzi are able to instead focus on unseen—and often ignored—aspects of the women’s lives, including recurring dreams, childhood aspirations, lost loves, and favorite colors.
While many applaud Downtown Divas as a critique of the fashion industry and its apparent glamorization of drug addiction, contrary claims of exploitation and questions of the subjects’ ability—or inability—to consent have also emerged. Thus, while seemingly intended as a means to humanize the women, many hold that it instead achieves the exact opposite by exploiting them and taking advantage of their apparent afflictions and unwell mental states.
After viewing the photos and watching the video, what do you think of Downtown Divas? Humanizing social commentary, or exploitative agenda? (via Feature Shoot)
Los Angeles photographer Dan Busta has a couple very interesting photographic series exploring single-themed concepts at length. This one, Dots, is fairly self explanatory: naked women covered in dots, posing within rooms also covered in dots. What the images offer is part optical illusion and part good old fashioned sensuality. The natural beauty of the models stripped down to the most basic elements of form and pose. Through his exploration of this distinct concept, and through the manipulation of dot and background colors, Busta harnesses a unique way to showcase the beauty of these women in a flattering way.
Busta is no stranger to photographing people. He has photographed the rich and famous, his website is a yearbook of actors and celebrities we know and love. Another interesting project of his, Ghosts, shows a white-clothed figure standing in various settings. Busta’s exploration of themed projects continues to be a strong point in his work, and something that sets him apart as a photographer. It’s exciting to think of what he will do next!
Painter Joseba Eskubi’s lusciously-crafted landscape paintings have both an incredible energy and a certain mystique to them. The gestural brush strokes signify movement like the wind or temperamental weather, and they exist in these desolate locations with brilliantly-colored dark sky; it’s like the bluish-purple that marks the middle of the night.
All of Eskubi’s paintings feels like they exist in the same world, but each sets the stage different for its own strange happenings. A lot of these structures are reminiscent of weeping trees or their twisted branches. These lines create an interesting visual tension that doesn’t necessarily feel threatening at the moment, but it was at one time (or maybe in the future?). It’s an uncertain, post-apocalyptic shelter. But unlike the stereotypical gray landscape, Eskubi has created a place of visual splendor.
Tyler Orehek’s photographic interest lies in vintage-style photography, which he creates with his young son, also Tyler, as the subject of his portraits. Each scene is meticulously planned as Orehek selects the environment and props beside which he casts his son. It’s really enjoyable to see his son inhabit each character, and he does it well. Tyler looks like a shrunken man from the 1900s on, as a bookie, a boxer, a police officer, and more. It’s obvious that Orehek has done his research.
Orehek speaks about his love of vintage photography, and his reasoning for his approach in his artist statement:
My intent was not and is not to replicate existing vintage photographs but to capture the mood, feel and the visceral emotion of that period. Having a child in lieu of an adult in my work allows the viewer to focus on the “essence” of those past environments and professions with greater clarity through juxtaposition.
He’s right on that by including Tyler instead of a full-grown man, the scene seems fresher. The images are drenched in nostalgia, but they seem living because of the naïve air of his son, who is really making the part his own, while trying to emulate the moods his father strives for.