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Brutal Photographs Of Teen Boxers Before And After Fights

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For his powerful series 141 Boxers, photographer Nicolai Howalt shoots young amateur boxers in Denmark before and after their first brutal fight. The artist, known in part for his elegant images of car wrecks, once again finds an eerie beauty in violence, capturing sweaty faces sprinkled in fresh blood. On the left, his subjects present their game faces, poised in a moment of calm determination prior to the battle; on the right, the violence and competition has ended, leaving their faces bruised and swollen.

For these teenage athletes, the first foray into the ring presents itself as a rite of passage out of childhood and into manhood. Afterwards, they are irrevocably changed, as if all of puberty were condensed into a single test of machismo. As viewers, we might be unsettled to see these round, blushingly cheeks marked by punches; though outwardly baby-faced, Howalt’s subjects possess a knowingness and understanding of aggression that transcends their youth. Thrust into the environment of the controversial sport, these pimpled, wide-eyed adolescents are aglow with their own glistening sweat and an uncomfortable sense of adult virility.

Arranged neatly in a grid as they are in gallery installations, Howalt’s violent images are paradoxically sterile. Set against a pale gray background, his subjects seem restrained in a way that contradicts the nature of their sport. Many of the photographs look like clean mugshots pinned cleanly and simply on a wall; the young boxers are at the mercy of our judgement. Do we condemn or celebrate this ruthless sport? Take a look. (via Agonistica)

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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)

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Miniature Scenes of Industrial Japan Sculpted Using Human Hair

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Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki, seen previously meticulously carving topographical maps from electrical tape, has created a new body of work that’s equally as detailed. This time, the artist uses cloth fibers, human hair, and dust to depict miniature scenes of large refineries and power plants. The works were apart of an exhibition at the Kawasaki City Museum earlier this year entitled Out of Disorder.

The charcoal-colored landscapes look like they’ve been under a lot of pressure and are on the edge of collapse. This inspiration came from the industrial rise of Japan, and Iwasaki used satellite images from Google Earth to recreate its old cityscapes. He began forming these sculptures by first soaking towels in ink and then dirtying them to create rags, serving as the base for the delicately-constructed generators and gantry cranes; it’s meant to signify the lands that were leveled in the WWII air raids. These gritty and melancholy scenes depict an era of post-war Japan that is now past, but still recalls the labor and sweat that went into it. (Via JunkCulture, Spoon & Tamago, and Azito Art)

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