David O’Keefe’s clay sculptured caricatures are grotesquely accurate. There is a sliver of realistic figuration in their distortion that makes them strangely believable in their likeness. In particular the above image ruins my sincere affection for The Beatles, as they now look like horrible gremlins from a bad acid trip.
Surreal illustrations by John Malloy.
I may be a day or two late but here’s an animated video to celebrate the year of the rabbit, courtesy of Frater Films. Watch the full video after the jump.
I am truly a sucker for anything of an absurd nature. I also love the classic style of old propaganda posters. So when I stumbled upon the collages of Miss Grycja Erde, twas a happy moment. The nature of Grycja’s collages made me assume she was an older artist, since they have a mature approach to absurbity (in my opinion). But I was surprised to find out she’s just 23! Enjoy these tasty treats coming to you from Ukraine.
“Not Valid” is an ongoing experiment concerning the interpretation of invalid html. The work itself seems to be a series of words in a variety of random colors, though each word has been assigned the color value of itself. The browser interprets what color the word should be. Different browsers will interpret “Not Valid” in a different manner.
In a sociopolitical environment wherein Western music was banned, music-lovers in 1950s Russia (who were called stilyagi, similar to our modern-day “hipsters”) found an ingenious way to pirate the popular tunes they loved: by printing the music on exposed x-ray film salvaged from hospital waste bins. The process was unrefined, but subversive; as writer Anya von Bremzen explains,
They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan — forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens. (Source)
The name given to these bootlegged records was, appropriately, “Bone Music.” The sound quality likely wasn’t excellent, but such piracy was as much a political act as the desire to listen to one’s favourite Western jazz or rock ‘n’ roll — it was a way to cleverly challenge a system that sought to regulate entertainment and youth culture. The Bone Music phenomenon was discovered by the authorities and made illegal in 1958.
The Bone Music records today are curious works of art; you can see the grooves and the circular shapes of the discs superimposed over the bones and viscera of some long-dead stranger. The concept is morbid, and beautiful. As József Hajdú intriguingly points out, Bone Music has a “double function of being both [a] sound record as well as [a] record of the internal human body; images of ribs, skulls and limbs [are] broken by sound waves and shattered by music inscribed onto the surface” (Source). What this macabre association ultimately explores is how we use our material bodies in the creation of art and self-expression, and how, after we are dead, such art becomes cultural artifacts for future generations. We imprint our historical, bodily subversion onto the art we make; and therein lies the beauty of Bone Music.
Check out Hajdú’s page for more scans and insightful thoughts about Bone Music. NPR’s article is also an excellent resource, and it explores many other ways in which people discretely dissented in Soviet-era Russia. (Via Colossal)
London based Vicky Wright’s lush abstract paintings literally pour out of the frame and towards the viewer.
Located under the sea off the coasts of Mexico, Grenada, and the West Indies, Jason de Caires Taylor’s realistic sculptures of people morph and evolve over time with the proliferation of colorful sea life that inhabits them. Stony human faces are obfuscated by coral, barnacles and seaweed; fleshed out and breathing with new life, the resulting ecosystem textures and transforms these ever-changing, ephemeral bodies. Created with environmentally friendly materials that promote coral growth, the sculptures contain inert, ph-neutral properties designed to last hundreds of years, and to house the creatures that distort and transform them. Taylor’s magnus opus, The Silent Evolution, located in Cancun, Mexico, consists of 400 life-sized casts and forms a permanent artificial reef. Taylor’s body of work provides both an artful method for addressing environmental concerns and the spectacle of witnessing true buried treasure.
Taylor is currently based in Cancun, Mexico, where he is the founder and Artistic Director of the Museo Subaquatico de Arte (MUSA).