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Magdalena Bors Creates And Captures Domestic Life Run Amuck In Her Elaborately Staged Photographs

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Photographer Magdalena Bors, who currently works out of Australia, has spent much of her artistic career exploring the creation of small worlds. Often toying with domestic situations that have catapulted nearly out of control, her work toys with domestic life through a silly exaggeration of common routines; crafting to the point of knitting an entire rooms worth of goods, thumb tacks that have grown into their own ant hills on a desk. Thoughtful yet comical, she pokes fun at routine while also creating a rather transfixing sculpture out of it, pointing out an underlying beauty and the inherent art in nearly everything. Her work is child-like yet sophisticated, and reads much like a scene that has lost control through its own charisma and momentum.

“The characters in my latest series of images The Seventh Day have been overtaken by a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion to create complex environments from materials found in the domestic realm. The processes undertaken to create the landscapes are extremely labour intensive and involve repetitive, painstaking tasks. Food scraps and remnants of materials seen in the images allude to the passing of time and the physicality of the processes involved. The resulting scenes resemble familiar, sometimes iconic natural landscapes.” (Excerpt from Source)

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Controversial Exhibit Of Religious Barbie Dolls Cancelled Due To Death Threats

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For a plastic doll, Barbie can be polarizing. Emiliano Paolini and Marianela Perelli discovered this recently when their exhibit “Barbie: The Plastic Religion” at POPA gallery in Buenos Aires was cancelled. “Given repeated anonymous threats concerning the event, the artists decided not to exhibit his work, fearing for the physical safety of visitors,” a notice on the gallery’s website announced.

The 33 pieces in the controversial collection are each one-of-a-kind, and they include Barbie dolls as the Virgin Mary; Joan of Arc; Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction; and the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. Ken becomes Christ on the cross, Buddha, Moses, St. Sebastian and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sculptures represent figures from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Argentine folk religion. The Muslim prophet Muhammad is not included in the series—the artists told Reuters that since Islam prohibits the creation of his image they omitted him out of respect.

Questions of taste and faith have been raised by Argentine Catholic Priests, Italian Bishops, and Hindu Clerics, much to the surprise of the artists. “We have a sanctuary in the kitchen that has more saints than the Vatican,” Paolini told the Associated Press. Some have accused the artists of grandstanding—disrespecting religion in order to gain notoriety. They disagree.

“The true message of our work was mutilated by magazines and television. That’s a shame. The media is killing our art.” (Source)

The sculpted dolls are additional portrayals in the canon of religious iconography, weighted down with the 55-year legacy of a plastic girl and her boyfriend.

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Damien Hirst’s Little Pink Pill

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Damien Hirst is often known for his menagerie of carefully curated animals. You may have seen his cow, somewhat deconstructed, or his 14-foot tiger shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde. In his new exhibit, “Schizophrenogenesis,” Hirst turns to a different kind of preservative: the kind that humans use to maintain a delicate mental balance or for the good of our health — or so we have been told.

“Schizophrenogenesis” is a tongue-in-cheek homage (or opposite thereof) to the sleek contemporary design of pharmacology. These IKEA-worthy pills are shown in neon prints or as sculptures, much larger than life. “Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art,” Hirst says. “They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to just have a pill, to feel beauty.”

Though out of the ground indeed did they come, the modern-day herbs and remedies Hirst depicts are anything but natural. Viewers are asked to contemplate their artificial curves and edges and the distant bold-faced type of a prescription (“Take SIX capsules FOUR TIMES DAILY,” one says urgently). One bubblegum pink capsule declares, “PFIZER.”

“Schizophrenogenesis” is currently on display at the Paul Stolper Gallery in London until November 15th. (via Artsy)

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Cuneyt Akeroglu’s Red Room: Nudity, Sex, And Love Through The Fashion Lens

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Cuneyt Akeroglu’s Red Room series is a polished exploration of love and sex through the lens of fashion. Akeroglu enlisted top models like Lara Stone, Anja Rubik, Natasha Polly, and many more to enact scenes meant to convey the many facets of love through nude portraiture. The photographs are each stunning in their own right. Nude women (except for one male model) with ideal figures set in front of a striking red backdrops with sometimes extremely suggestive props, like Natasha Polly’s red rose spilling white liquid – read semen – down her leg, or Lily McMenamy entangled in a snake.

I’m particularly drawn to the photo of Anja Rubik where she squats on top of a mirror looking down at herself with curiosity/rapture, and holds her breast while covering the portion of the mirror that would (presumably) reflect her vagina. Akeroglu captures a moment of discovery for Rubik’s character in the photo, as well as demonstrates the complexities of being able to reach out and touch someone or oneself, and the confusion and excitement that comes from the attempt.

The only problem I have with the series is Akeroglu’s approach to the male portrait. I acknowledge right off the bat that the precedent for the subjects of nude portraiture in both fashion and art history is predominantly female, and so it’s entirely expected that his subjects would be a majority of women. What I find strange is that every woman is on full display with her entire body in the frame, where the male model, Arthur Grosse, is taken only from the shoulders up, not even baring a nipple. It’s barely a nude portrait, and only addresses the themes of sex and love using tiny beads of sweat that could indicate physical activity of a sexual nature. Although I enjoy the subtle tones of the photo in contrast to the overt sexuality of some of the female portraits, I question the decision to include a male portrait where the subject is treated with such hesitation.

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Vittorio Ciccarelli’s Minimal Photos Reveal Beauty In What’s Normally Overlooked

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Vittorio Ciccarelli’s photographic series titled Invisible captures parts of the world that we pass by - what we look at, but don’t really see. The artist highlights fast food chain signs, lamp posts, factory windows, and more in these simplified and beautifully-designed images. Ciccarelli’s works feature vibrant blues, reds, and yellow hues, and it’s clear that he caught these places on a good day.

By zeroing in on just a couple of sets of windows or a portions of a sign, he creates abstract compositions. We now focus on the formal aspects of the work rather than where or what the image is of. Sure, we might recognize that the two lights are the top of a lamp post, but that seems secondary to the gorgeous shapes and how they interact with the cloudless blue sky. When you look at these places just so, as Ciccarelli has done, you see how peculiar the seemingly “invisible” things in the world really are.

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Guido Mocafico’s Mesmerizing Snake Photos Will Get You lost In A Swirl Of Venomous Pattern

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If you’re Ophidiophobic, Guido Mocafico’s photo series “Serpens” (1-4) is not for you. Slithering, scaly, sinuous—snakes are one of the most widely reviled creatures on Earth. And yet Mocafico’s still-life photos of snakes in a box, including vipers and cobras, are absorbingly beautiful, full of color and pattern and twisting, supple shapes. In the collected photos of Serpens, which has also been published as a book by the same name, the snakes are like nature’s art swatches, rectangular and saturated.

“The first time I photographed a snake up close, I nearly fainted. I’d always found them terrifying, but also fascinating—an attraction-repulsion I think most people experience when they encounter beautiful animals that creep or crawl. My goal with this series is to explore that intersection of human emotions.”

“Serpens”, “Aranea” (Spiders), and “Medusa” (Jellyfish) comprise the trilogy “Venenum”, all shot on black backgrounds from above, all terrifyingly exquisite. Mocafico worked on these long-term personal projects, published in books and shown as gallery exhibitions, alongside his commercial and advertising activities.

“Each photography session takes about 45 minutes. The expert corrals the snakes into a cloth-lined, clear plastic-sided box. Then I stand two feet away, pull back the top, point my camera—I still prefer the look of film—and wait for patterns and curves to emerge.

This series has been good therapy and education for me: I can handle snakes now and have learned a lot about different species. But I’ve learned most by watching people react to these images. Their fear and desire reveals something primal about our species.”

Looking at these images, there is nothing inherently scary about these reptiles. On the contrary, they are gorgeous—their hues and markings lush and complex. By elevating snakes into art, Guido Mocafico makes us look, really look, at the mesmerizing source of our fear. (Via Juxtapoz. Artist quotes via National Geographic)

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Eye-Catching Geometric Graffiti Murals Made Entirely From Tape

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20 Year Old Gustavo Fuentes (aka Flëkz) is not your usual graffiti artist. This L.A. local creates large scale murals on the walls around the city without the aid of stencils, rulers or spray paint. His only material he uses to create his pieces is a roll of humble painter’s tape. Finding light colored, bare walls to work on, Fuentes uses the electric blue of his tape to create amazing designs that you can’t help but notice. The contrast makes his pieces hover and pop off the wall and definitely stand out against the background.

Refreshingly different from most other graffiti and street art, Fuentes is quickly forming a fan base. He uses a technique of overlaying the tape and playing with the thicknesses and gaps left between the layers to create really interesting patterns and optical illusions. Deceptively simple, his pieces are actually full of strange perspectives, beautiful symmetry, fractured segments, sneaky curves and clean crisp corners. Featuring many variations of triangles and prisms Flëkz’s pieces add drama to the cityscape, but still don’t escape the inevitable fate of all street art – that it is unfortunately temporary. So if you can’t see his work out on the streets, and want to see more of it while it is still visible, go here. (Via Source)

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Ryan Schude’s Playful Photographs Are Each Like A Complex Universe Filled With Perfectly Staged Detail

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LA based photographer Ryan Schude knows how to tell a full story with just his lens. His elaborately structured photographs form a world all their own. Sometimes crass, sometimes out of control, his work hearkens to that complex visual zone inhabited by artists like fellow photographer Gregory Crewdson, director Wes Anderson, and we should probably mention David Lynch as well, just to cover the bases. Dense with intricate details, diverse characters, and everything somehow happening all at once, Schude’s photographs never look the same twice.

There is a story being told, and the image comes off as that of a film still; yet we are seeing a flash of an in between, we are neither here nor there but just in the middle enough to not be able to articulate what is going or why.  Schude exhibits a playfulness within his settings that keep the scenes fun and adventurous, but many have that same alienated, nearly possessed, quality that Crewdson was so good at nailing. And that defiant divorce of logic within narrative that Lynch also adores employing in his films. Although everything looks the same as it would in the real world, the laws of the universe are clearly different within the realm of the photographed subjects, and that is what makes them so intriguing.

See Ryan’s work next month at bG Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.

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