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Best Of 2012: Chen Wenling

Chinese artist Chen Wenling’s massive sculptures are completely grotesque, perverse, and completely fascinating. In other words one of our favorite finds for the week!

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Shi Jindian Wire Mesh Motorcyles

Chinese artist Shi Jindian work at first glance may look like an xray of your favorite motorcycle or car but it in fact is creating out of a complex woven wire mesh. Shi Jindian process involves wrapping the wires around every square inch of the object and then carefully removing or destroying the object, leaving only its wire mesh skeleton. (via toxel)

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Artist’s Self Portraits Spanning Over Five Years Document The Painful Progression Into Alzheimer’s Disease

1967

1967

1995

1995

Alzheimer’s Disease

1996

Alzheimer’s Disease

2000

Alzheimer’s Disease is sometimes called The Long Goodbye, a gradual loss of memory, self, and eventually, life. When artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s he began to make a series of self-portraits that would continue for five years. Looking at the pictures in chronological order is looking at a life diminished by degrees. As his technical skill ebbed, so did Utermohlen’s apparent sense of self. Still, the urge to create persisted.

In an essay about the self-portraits, Utermohlen’s wife, Pat, wrote:

“In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness. The great talent remains, but the method changes. He sometimes uses water-colour and paints a series of masks, perhaps because he could more quickly express his fear. In both the oils and water-colours these marvellous self portraits express his desperate attempt to understand his condition. There is a new freedom of expression, the paint is applied more thickly, art-historically speaking the artist seems less linear and classical, more expressionist, and I see ghosts of his German heritage.”

Worldwide, nearly 36 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia—almost everyone will be touched by Alzheimer’s in some way during their lifetimes. Although Pat Utermohlen told the New York Times, “It’s so strange to be known for something you’re doing when you’re rather ill,” it was also a testament to William Utermolen’s ability as an artist that he was able to transcend his own experience, even unknowingly, and create work that was at once profound, heart-breaking, and universal.

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Michel Blazy’s Massive Installations Made Out Of Detergent Foam

The installations of Michel Blazy grow, flow, and froth.  Like much of his work, Blazy’s latest installation, titled Bouquet Final, makes use of white foam.  Inside a French Medieval church, the foam tumbles from high scaffolding to the floor.  The pliable, moving, and ever changing foam contrasts with the sense of permanence in the centuries old cathedral.  Blazy alludes to a change and mortality by using materials such as foam, an unstable medium in perpetual transformation.  The foamy flow could also reference the earth and neglect for its environment.  The installation resembles uncontrollable detergent suds – a product that is at once used to clean our homes and also a poisonous pollutant to the earth and its waters.

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Frozen Flying Birds and Seed Installations By Claire Morgan

The work of British artist Claire Morgan is alive with natural forces.  Birds appear to fly, flail, or fall through lighter-than-air formations of seeds.  Using nylon thread Morgan suspends her installations giving the impression of an event caught in time.  Peculiarly, she is able to express the idea of passing time and motion by appearing magically to stop it.  Morgan’s interest in natural forces is clearly apparent in her work.  The installations are nearly a way she can manipulate these otherwise immutable forces.

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The Incredible And Intimate Stories Of LGBTQ Youth

Laurel Golio - Photograph

Qwill, 20, Northfield, MN, I feel like my gender is kind of a pendulum. Sometimes I feel more feminine, sometimes I feel more masculine, but I definitely swing somewhere between the genders. I don’t really have a pronoun that I prefer, so people just always use female pronouns. It’s kind of complicated if I say I want people to use all the pronouns.

Laurel Golio - Photograph

Patrick, 18, My father and I had one talk about me being gay, when I was bringing the trash to a recycling place. He told me, “I used to think that way when I was your age until I met the right woman, and then I never looked back.” He thought he was gay and then one girl asked him out. He never had a boyfriend.

Laurel Golio - Photograph

Maya, 18, New York, NY, I was just elected student council president. My platform is that the school is not as perfect as we think. Some people are racist. Some people are like, “She’s black and a lesbian and she’s our president.” Some people are really up in arms. There are a lot of people who have been against it. The kids who don’t really like me wrote “secession” on their Facebook status. If prep schools are like the houses in Harry Potter, I’m friends with Gryffindor and those kids are Slytherin.

We Are The Youth is a photo-documentary and essay project that compiles the stories of LGBTQ youth from around North America. It’s a simple project that packs an honest punch. Each story is personal and demonstrates the completely different experiences of the participants. They speak about the need for role models or their role in becoming one, about their own struggles with their identity, where they situate themselves on the gender/sexuality scale, and how that can change from day to day. The project is a collaborative effort between Laurel Golio who takes the photographs, Diana Scholl who writes the biographic essays, and of course, the LGBTQ youth. (Via Lenscratch)

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Miranda July celebrates the movie extra

Miranda JulyMiranda July
Miranda July, author, director, actress, photographer, master of capturing pre and post pubescent awkwardness, and as a character who has risen to status somewhat similar to that of a cult icon…has done it again. Our friend Graham at Future Shipwreck has written a nicer summary of her project than I could ever…so here it is! “In the language of cinema, extras are designed to be forgotten. Miranda July’s recent series of photos (a collaboration with Roe Ethridge), in which she unthinkably excavates background players from historically popular films and poses herself in homage to these bygone human props, is a declaration of war on the finality of culture. She dares to reverse the mandate of natural selection.” I wonder though, how she chose the particular films and extras that she did. Were they just arbitrarily picked? Or did she think aesthetically about which movies and which scenes from those movies that the most interesting looking extras?

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Magnus

 

An old train travels through magical landscapes to discover an unknown ancient city. Watch the full video after the jump.

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