The show opens tonight at Gallery1988 in Los Angeles from 6-10PM and runs until April 23rd. Check below the cut for some previews of the works. See you there!
Robert Lazzarini is best known as a sculptor. But that is actually an oversimplification of what he does. Walking the line between reality and illusion, Lazarrini creates compound distortions of common objects, challenging perception and what we understand to be the limits of the material world.
Lazzarini’s works are not mere deformities. Using mathematical distortions and algorithm-based operations, such as mappings and translations, Lazzarini bases his alterations in reality. Along the same lines, he chooses to fabricate the warped objects in their true material. A skull is made of reconstituted bone, a hammer of wood and steel, etc. This intense attention to detail is important to Lazzarini. Earlier this year he and his team attempted to create a series of broken liquor bottle sculptures. Despite consulting MIT experts and Dale Chihuly’s team the project was sidelined because it was too difficult to realize. Such dedication and through research are major components of Lazarrini’s artistic practice. Part of this obsessive thoroughness is his desire is to eliminate art-specific materials from his work. In doing so the viewer’s experience is completely different. There is a sense of authenticity, which makes the distortion all the more extraordinary.
Violence is another component of Lazzarini’s work and it extends beyond the fact that he chooses to work with guns, bullets, knives and skulls. The objects themselves are disturbing, and the way they exist in our visual field is also disquieting. We so want to make sense of them, to right the disfiguration so that we can easily understand them. Ultimately though, Lazzarini’s works completely refuse that possibility, making them all the more compelling.
Catch Lazzarini’s latest show, jam shot, at Dittrich & Schlechtriem in Berlin up now through November 2.
In case you haven’t heard, the new, limited edition book-format B/D will be specially themed moving forward! Each issue will cohesively incorporate a chosen theme within all aspects of the book– from editorial, to featured artists, to the design and layout of the mag itself.
Here’s the best part: we wanted to open up the forum to all of you devoted readers! If we pick yours, we will send you one of our new books with your theme free of charge!
Some ideas us here at B/D have come up with are “Art & Commerce,” “Digital Domains,” “Rules are Made to be Broken,” to name a few. The themes you choose should be open enough to encapsulate a wide variety of contemporary expressions, but no so loose that just about anything could go into it. Examples of things that are too loosy goosy: “Figurative Painting,” “Artists of 2009,” “Skulls,” things that are way too specific: “Artists that use root beer as paint,” “Performance art in Central Park,” “Guys that incorporate mustaches into their imagery.”
You get the idea- so send away, we’re excited to hear from you! Please leave your ideas for book themes in the comments section of this post.
“In my artwork I always use printed matter – discarded books, magazines, and computer printouts; the cultural debris of our information society. The sculptures I create reference Eastern and Western icons and intellectual figures, thereby exploring cultural meanings and concepts. I always use text in my work and the content of the texts are relevant to my sculptures. My finished sculptures often seem to be wood or marble, though they consist of paper. They are constructed in such a way that the various parts fit together in a seamless manner.” – Chen Long-Bin, from Volta NY
Amy Congdon is a designer and researcher whose speculative “Biological Atelier” project brings fashion into the laboratory. The question driving her work is as follows: “What role will textile design play in the creation of biological products of the future?” (Source) Can we use tissue engineering to literally (and sustainably) grow fashion products, without creating waste, and without killing animals for their parts? As Congdon describes in the above video interview with Dezeen, her prospective collection would include a broach grafted onto the skin, and a collar attachment grown from an “an exotic mix of scales and leather.”
By combining textile design with tissue engineering, the possibilities for fashion products are virtually endless. “You could engineer specific properties into them,” Congdon explains. “They could be water repellent, or you could engineer the colour into them so you’re not having to dye them.” Furthermore — and here we enter the realm of a maybe-not-so-distant sci-fi future — Congdon hypothesizes that we could create hybrid materials, textiles deriving from combinations of organic tissues that have never occurred in nature.
While the conceptual pieces are beautiful, they may produce a sense of unease for some. Fashion, after all, usually involves commodities we put on and over our bodies, not ones that we graft on, and certainly not those made of materials birthed in a laboratory. This creates fascinating questions for the future of our bodies (and our consumer habits) — we could conceivably become hybridized by our fashion. As Congdon writes compellingly on her website:
“With one of the most controversial sets of materials becoming available for manipulation, i.e. our body, and those of other species, it could be argued that future fashion is grown from the ultimate commodity.” (Source)
Whether the concepts behind the “Biological Atelier” project fascinate or unnerve us (or both), Congdon points out the necessity for such speculative work. “We really need to acknowledge that we are living on just one planet, so we have finite resources,” she explains in the video. “So we really need to think about new ways that we might produce materials and products.” Such research, after all, may one day mean less suffering for the people, animals, and environments harmed by commodity production.
Anton Kusters is a Belgium-based photographer specializing in long-term projects. In 2011, he published his first photobook on the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime families, that he photographed for two years.
Tell us about your Yakuza project.
‘YAKUZA is a personal visual account of the life inside an inaccessible subculture: A traditional Japanese crime family that controls the streets of Kabukicho, in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. Through 10 months of negotiations with the Shinseikai, my brother Malik and I became one of the only Westerners ever to be granted this kind of access to the closed world of Japanese organized crime.
‘With a mix of photography, film, writing and graphic design, I try to share not only their complex relationship to Japanese society, but also the personal struggle of being forced to live in two different worlds at the same time; worlds that often have conflicting morals and values. It turns out not to be a simple black versus white relationship, but most definitely one with many, many, many shades of grey.’
The street art of Brad Downey is a special breed of subversive. Downey approaches the city with the open mind of a child but interacts with it in all seriousness. His work emphasizes city features and spaces that are often quickly passed by. Downey then interacts with these spaces in an artistic manner – a manner which strangely feels as natural as their utilitarian purposes. I find myself wanting to try many of these simple pieces out in my own neighborhood.