Perhaps the fascination for artists utilizing chrome and mirror in their works is the increasing divide between seeing ourselves more and more via social media, yet understanding ourselves less. This is particularly evident in the work of New York-based Korean multidisciplinary artist Kimsooja, which often deals with the self-perception and the self and the other. In her installation To Breathe – A Mirror Woman at the Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, in Madrid, Kimsooja transformed a classic greenhouse by removing everything and replacing it with a mirrored floor. Next, the Tague, South Korean-born artist used a translucent, light-diffracting film to coat the windows, which cause an array of naturally occurring rainbows, which were in turn continuously reflected by a mirrored surface that covered the entire floor. Like many of her projects, an audio pairing accompanied the visuals. Visitors would experience a recording of Kimsooja breathing, enhancing the contemplative yet personal and relatable mystery of the installation.
Taken from Kimsooja’s description of the project, “Outside light filters through the glass of the pavilion and reflects off the diffraction film. It diffuses into rainbow spectrums, transforming the external panorama seen from within the palace. The resulting effect is that the entire structure as well as the rays of colour reflecting off the mirrored floor. Natural light, colour, and sound are all ethereal elements within the empty space. The artist’s breathing from the performance, The Weaving Factory, bounces off the mirrors and fills the entire building to intermix with it, breaking down barriers of inside and outside, self and other, and reality and fantasy.”
As children, Disney movies provide us with an idealized portrait of adulthood, full of adventure and happy endings. The artist Jeff Hong provides an alternate narrative in “Unhappily Ever After;” here, our beloved Disney princesses and animals are subjected to the realities of a cruel, dark world. Set against moody, disturbing backdrops, the animated characters appear entirely out of place, stunned by the state of the human condition.
Unlike the work of Dina Goldstein, a photographer who imagined the heartbreaking fates of Disney princesses, Hong’s images preserve the two-dimensional form of the famed Disney characters, a choice which heightens the drama of each piece. As if hurled from an easily understood storybook fairytale, the princesses suffer within a more realistic (and three-dimensional) photographic space.
Throughout “Unhappily Ever After,” the artist pointedly draws attention to current social injustices. These characters, with whom we associate our own wide-eyed innocence, are placed within a a racially-segregated America (Tiana) or a casino that now occupies a Native American reservation (Pocahontas). Animal cruelty and environmental negligence are laid bare as Dumbo suffers the life of a circus animal, Bambi is hunted and stuffed, and Ariel’s lungs fill with polluted water. Simbo is held captive in a zoo. Alice forsakes Wonderland to maintain her drug habit in the streets, and Cinderella is left in a dark alleyway, her clothes ripped from her body. It is profoundly unsettling to witness these childhood symbols in such a difficult world; more distressing still is the fact these injustices and hardships happen every day. Take a look. (via Design Boom)
Move over, Subway sandwich artists. There’s a new guy in town, and this time the pizza variety. Domenico Crolla is the owner of Bella Napoli restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland, and serves up tasty pies that feature portraits of celebrities. They are drawn directly onto the pizza using a well-place and calculated combination of cheese and sauce.
If you look closely, you’ll see that that small, intricate details are expressed through mozzarella. Wisps of hair and individual eyelashes are visible. It seems that Crolla has used some sort of stencil to ensure the likeness of each public figure and control the cheese from becoming a melty, unrecognizable mess.
Some of these pies might look too impressive to eat. Or, maybe not. It could be really cathartic to slice into the face of a celebrity that you disliked! Either way, the formula for enjoying Crolla’s handiwork is the same – look first, eat later. (Via designboom)
Alex Schaefer, a senior at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, creates portraits that explore the surreal and dark nature of the human experience.
Through bizarre props and Photoshop tricks, Schafer creates the ultimate, dreadful parallel universe- a landscape that enables us to coexist with what most of us fear: loss of control, death, and powerlessness.
Although sometimes comical, the artist places his subject, a man, in several different scenarios that deem him weak. Whether he is being tied down and unable to escape, crushed by rocks, or lost within a television screen- he has reached an endpoint.
The lens of the Indonesian photographer Donald Jusa has miraculously allowed us to see into the eyes of tiny, wholly bizarre creatures; with his macro camera, the artist is able to capture the most minute details of the insect body. At times, the faces of these beings seem entirely foreign; as viewers, we search for marks of human feeling and features, but the multiple eyes and strange limbs transfix and confound our perceptive powers.
Unlike some macro photography cataloging the lives of insects, Jusa does not capture the surrounding environment or even the entire body. Instead, his photographs read like strange portraits; against a colored backdrop, the miniature creatures seem absurdly to sit for the artist, proudly displaying their features. Fixed perfectly within the boundaries of the frame, Jusa’s non-human subjects are magically motionless, as if frozen between periods of buzzing and flight. At such close range, the viewer experiences the texture of insect flesh and bone; our eyes scan coarse, moistened hairs.
Jusa’s insects, magnified many times over and seen in such fine detail, tone, and resolution, resemble strange beasts, unrecognizable as the tiny creatures that they most certainly are. As we peer at them and their multiple eyes stare back, we might feel affrighted or startled by their clarity, the very fact of their largeness. It is unnerving to imagine our own faces reflected a thousand times over in these complex, repeating ocular lenses, and yet magically, we can interpret the tiniest hint of recognition within the insect eyes. Take a look. (via Demilked)
Combining Japanese architectural influence with a concern and skill for using reclaimed materials, Australian firm March Studio decided to make a statement to the entryway staircase to the Nishi building in Canberra, Australia. Already being called “Australia’s most radically sustainable mixed-use building and apartment complex,” the building’s design makes an effort to harmony with its natural surroundings, treelife, and wasting as little as possible in it’s construction.
Hotel Hotel Blog explains March Studio’s design goals well, quoting, “Let the location inform the materials, and then let the materials inform the design. In Nishi’s case, the creative catalyst was the splendour of the construction site itself: chaotic but precise. March also prescribes to the philosophy of “letting the material be the material” (ah so desu ka, sensei) by using them in their natural state.”
Made of 2,150 recycled (or upcycled, whichever word seems more appropriate), the repurposed wood from homes, basketball courts, and the remnants of the construction site of the building itself. Held in place with over 2000 steel rods, the installation creates a striking effect, yet balanced with an ordered peacefulness. Beautiful yes, but dusting seems like it will be a pain. (via colossal and hotel hotel blog)
Here at Beautiful/Decay, we don’t limit our features to art and design created by the human species. In large cities like Tokyo where there are few trees, birds may find it hard to come by nesting materials. Because of this lack, crafty crows have begun to use wire coat hangers to build their abodes, stealing them from nearby apartments. Crows’ nests are typically composed of interlocking twigs and some wire to create a sturdy structure for the birds’ eggs so it’s not hard to understand how hangers could be deemed appropriate materials by the crows. These wiry nests appear sculptural in their construction, their placements among tree branches marking a stark contrast between the natural and man-made. Crows are intelligent creatures and have been known to recognize human faces, bend wires into hooks in order reach food, crack open walnuts by dropping them from a height, and even memorize garbage truck schedules in order to track down food supplies. (via amusing planet)
One of the advantages to the window seat of an airplane is the view below. Flying 35,000 feet above the sky, you see a miniaturized landscape that’s a combination of mixtures of shapes and textures. It’s devoid of the finer details and has the appearance of an abstract painting. Photographer William Rugen captures these type of fractured scenes in his series of images titled Here > There. The monochromatic photographs show roads, fields, and cities in an up-close way that they don’t immediately appear as what they actually are.
We’ve recently seen the dystopian, dizzying effect that aerial photographs have on highways. Rugen’s photographs are disorienting at times, but there is a semblance of structure in the haphazard-looking scenes. Lines of the road fracture and corral the different (yet similar) shapes of the ground and break them up like a cubist painting. They reveal a patchwork of stories, development, and planning, which is inevitably the same wherever you travel, no matter what the physical differences might be.