When you see a photograph of a monument, often it’s just of the sculpture itself and not within the context of the larger landscape. It gives the appearance that these colossal constructions live within their own world. Photographer Fabrice Fouillet shatters this illusion in his series titled Colosses, in which he zooms out and provides us with what’s surrounding these massive creations. Many times, they make the monument appear less special and more ordinary.
Fouilllet explains his thinking behind the photographs:
The series “Colosses” is a study of the landscape embracing those monumental commemorative statues. Although hugeness is appealing, exhilarating or even fascinating, I was first intrigued by the human need to build gigantic declarations. Then I asked myself how such works could be connected to their surroundings. How can they fit in the landscape, despite their excessive dimensions and their fundamental symbolic and traditional functions?
That is why I chose to photograph the statute from a standpoint outside their formal surroundings (touristic or religious) and to favor a more detached view, watching them from the sidelines. This detachment enabled me to offer a wider view of the landscape and to place the monuments in a more contemporary dimension.
The statues that are surrounded by nature fit more comfortably in their environment. It feels less chaotic and a more peaceful place, in line with the intention of many religious practices. But, even when they are among shopping centers, you can’t ignore the stunning presence that these monuments have. (Via Flavorwire)
The Taiwanese photographer Yung Cheng Lin presents the female body in unusual, erotic and sometimes absurd ways; his surreal, staged images capture a raw sensuality that oscillates between the fantastic and the grotesque. Here, women are seen initially as objects of desire, but they contort their bodies in ways that defy objectification and veer into abstraction.
Lin’s images, wrought with sexual tension, are at times uncomfortable to look at; a girl grips a box of milk, and its liquid ejaculates on and into her ear. Another woman holds a ripened, banana, which we might assume to be symbolic of the phallus, between her thighs; a finger penetrates and abstracted mound of flesh. A replica of the Mona Lisa sits between a woman’s legs, the part of hair mimicking a vulvar shape. The viewer, often seeing these female subjects from above, feel like strange voyeurs, peering into intimate rituals undetected.
Amidst Lin’s exploration of sexuality is a growing sense of anxiety that may be read perhaps a fear of female sexual power. A rose intimately penetrates a woman’s throat, and her head falls back and out of the frame as if in pleasure. But this symbolic intercourse is foreboding, dangerous: the flower is dead, wilted, and blood trickles down the model’s neck. Dead bugs infest the sets, sitting atop bananas and dangling from blood-red threads, signifying impending decay. Like drone bees who flock to mate with their queen only to die after the moment of fertilization, the insects fall at the feet of women. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor and White Zine)
The incredible sand sculptures of Carl Jara more closely resemble ancient carved marble or surrealist daydreams than they do ordinary sand castles. His giant creations can reach an astounding height of fifteen feet, delightfully dwarfing beach goers and casting shadows across the sand. Jara has won several local, national, and international competitions with his powerful work.
Jara’s sculptural content seems to take a cue from his medium; each piece is devastatingly impermanent, fragile and vulnerable in the face of waves and rain. The carefully-constructed form of the sculptures express a similar evanescent quality, appearing as if they might vanish at any moment. The human body is split in two, and the flesh magically loses its materiality, intermingling with draped fabric. Here, bisecting the nude form is as simple unzipping a zipper that lines the torso; in this surreal realm, it appears as though we may shed our physical, mortal bodies like clothing.
And yet, somehow these images suggest a spiritual permanence of the creative self. Though the human figure is shown as transient, and although the artwork will surely vanish with the tides, Jara’s body of work hints at an invisible and unknown infinity. A man opens himself, revealing countless tiny selves arranged like Russian dolls. A piece titled Infinity presents a man, a philosopher maybe, holding unending manifestations of his own thought within a large, curved palm. Like grains of sand, we humans will one day be washed away, but in some surreal universe, our identities will be repeated, remembered time and again. (via Colossal)
The group 1,600 of exquisitely crafted papier-mâché panda bears have already travelled to and occupied cities like Paris, Berlin, Rome, and TaiPei; next month, they will overtake ten Hong Kong historical landmarks and tourist sites. As part of the Pandas on Tour project, these cuddly creatures are crafted from recycled materials by the French artist Paulo Grangeon in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, PMQ, and All Rights Reserved. Each sculpture has an important statement to make: there are less than 1,600 pandas living in the wild. Grangeon’s small creatures, with their wide eyes and round bodies, are easily be displayed side-by-side, providing a halting vision of the endangered species.
Human forces have forced the panda bears in a state of emergency; mining, tourism, and global warming have all contributed to the distraction of animal habitat in Chinese forests. Wild panda conservation is crucial, as the animals can rarely be convinced to mate in captivity.
Believe it or not, humans have a biological impetus for wanting to protect the species. Pandas have proven to be the most beloved animal for their resemblance to human babies; they too have wide eyes and their paws contain a “pseudo thumb.” Grangeon’s touching creatures are imbued with the tender hearts we recognize in the animals they represent. With poignantly cartoonish eyes, round ears, and emotive facial expressions, the papier-mâché figures inspire a whole lot of empathy. To learn how you can help the panda bears, visit WWF or the Smithsonian’s Giant Panda Conservation Fund. (via HuffPost, Time, and Design Boom)
Rose-Lynn Fisher - whose anatomical bee photographs we have previously featured - has recently completed a series of images she calls “The Topography of Tears” that represent a study of 100 types of tears photographed through a microscope. During a difficult time that yielded a copious amount of tears, Fisher began to wonder if her grief tears looked the same as onion tears when viewed under a microscope. Using her own and others’ tears, Fisher was able to create a varied landscape of tear structures, demonstrating the diversity to be found within tear types. Fisher’s images almost resemble aerial views, these tear structures fractally resonating with larger scale structures found in the world.
Fisher says, “Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears, shedding old skin. It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.” (via smithsonian mag)
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)