I’m back with another fantastic documentary from my netflix archives. I give you The Nomi Song!
Looks like an alien, sings like a diva – Klaus Nomi was one of the 1980s’ most profoundly bizarre characters. He was a cult figure in the New Wave underground scene, a genuine counter tenor who sang pop music like opera and brought opera to club audiences and made them like it. He was a performer with a “look” so strong, that his first audiences went wild before he even opened his mouth. Klaus presented himself as “the perfect video star” yet his star burned out just before the mass explosion of MTV. On the verge of international fame as a singer, he became instead one of the first gay artists to die of AIDS. In the end, his recorded output consists of re-reissues, in various forms, of only two LP’s and a live album. For those who do know him, the reaction he provoked was so strong, that he is still unforgettable, even 20 years after his death. Even now, Klaus is somehow still winning new fans among those too young to have known him when he was alive. And a quick check of the Internet reveals that all his records are still being sold.
For all you post-modern ironic lovers of the power of technology to rearrange, interrupt and recontextualize….wait, let me start over. This video is HI-larious. Maybe it’s because I have been in rooms full of stinky dudes agape at footage of Slash’s classic 1992 Tokyo concert, going, “My god! This solo is a veritable treasure trove of repeating pentatonic licks! Slash is God! We are not worthy!” (Sorta.) Well, Mr. StSanders has thoroughly confounded legions of shred-lovers. He “voices over” in near perfect timing clunker-rific dissonent solos that are the worst you have ever heard over all my favorite obnoxious guitar-heroes, including, but not limited to, The Satch-master, Steve Vai, Clapton, and others.
The work of artist Joanie Lemercier resembles Tron type imagery that has come to life. This piece’s materials, however, are really rather simple: paper and light. Lemercier folds paper into variously sized pyramids which are then arranged as a composition on the wall. The composition is visually mapped and a light projection is layered onto the installation. The result is a futuristic glowing geometric pattern. Lemercier is a member of AntiVJ – a “visual label”, a collective of artists that focus on light and perception in regards to art. If you enjoy the work of Joanie Lemercier, check out the work of fellow member Olivier Ratsi.
Los Angeles based photographer Jordana Sheara makes lovely work, both personal and commissioned. With an inclination towards fashion photography, Sheara creates two distinct worlds in each of her photographs; the illuminated and the shadowed, lending instant drama to her photos. Her subjects always have a beauty about them, even right after waking up, when all you really care about is that first cigarette of the day.
Photographer Florencia Durante’s series uses light to wrap her seated subject in a brilliant spectacle of energy. It appears as fractured, gestural drawings that dances on the floor, up the bald man’s (named Ruso) legs and sometimes around his head or out the door. The white-yellow spirit is erratic and is chaotic.
In addition to having a drawn quality to them, these photographs are sculptural. Durante builds up form and by layering line upon line, taking into consideration the contour of the knees and the head. She creates a halo and a veil around her subject.
The light seems simultaneously helpful and terrifying. Ruso sometimes sits idly as it moves around and throughout him. Other times, he has his head in his hands waiting for impending doom.
Brian Willmont (who we featured in Book 3) recently added a new selection of works to his portfolio. His wacky wild west cast of cacti include Clint Eastwood style brambly bandoleers and prickly pistol-iers. The spook of the frontier’s ghost towns, outlaws and mining carts are infused with Brian’s unique sense of humor. I mean really, what’s better than a desert plant sporting oversized cowboy hats and shades?
Rune Olsen has created an installation for Johansson Projects in Oakland, CA. The piece addresses the issue of children on leashes, with a nod to Duchamp’s Mile of String. Apparently, Olsen and myself have both become skeptical of this rather primitive method for controlling one’s child. I mean, this is 2010, Lindsay has a scram bracelet, Coco the Pomeranian is accosted with high-pitched buzzing from her collar every time she barks–where are the similar techie solutions to child rearing? Oh right, normally we reserve that sort of methodology for criminals and dogs.
Olsen approaches the issue with a similar sense of humor, while creating a highly confrontational space for the viewer to interact with. A playful installation, addressing a serious concern.
A humble kingdom of mountains dominates the geological park of Zhangye Danxia in China. The images are surreal, hard to believe they haven’t been photoshopped. Naturally formed of multi-colored layers, the mesmerizing rocks echo the intoxicating installations of Katharina Grosse. She creates an environment of massive abstract installations on where she sprays vivid horizontal and vertical colored lines.
The mountains are overlooking the world and we are observing their similar version in the work of Katharina Grosse. A bizarre unpredicted three way which leaves us, humans, feeling very small face to face with the immensity of creation.
They are both the result of a performance, nature’s on one hand, the artist’s on the other; leaving on site a charismatic scene. The colors on the mountains are the result of deposits of sandstones and other minerals that occured over 24 million years ago. The regularity of the juxtaposed colors is shocking, as if a human hand had meticulously traced those lines. Unthinkable; yet nature did it on its own.
Katharina Grosse, already featured in Beautiful/Decay for her incredible installations, uses space without any limits. Her art is, at times, perceived as graffiti art or outdoor paintings. Means by which she expresses herself as a vision and avoids to think about a separation between what’s inside and what’s outside. “When I’m painting I show what I’m thinking about the world I live in. I don’t make up a world”.