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Photographic Dreams Of Africa And Space Travel

Cristina De Middel photography4 Cristina De Middel photography2

Cristina De Middel photography9

Cristina De Middel brings a striking beauty to space travel in her series The Afronauts.  Her series is based on the aspirations of Edward Makuka Nkoloso – a 1960’s Zambian school teacher who wanted to land his countrymen on the moon before the United States or the Soviet Union.  Nkoloso was openly mocked, even by journalists.  Through his story, the series’ pleasant imagery gives way to more serious underpinnings.  De Middel says:

“The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices.”

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Franco Recchia’s Urban Skyline Sculpture Made from Recycled Computer Parts

 

Really cool cityscape sculptures created from recycled computer parts by Italian artist Franco Recchia. The cold mechanics of the dead computer hardware bring a strange quality to the works. And the claustrophobic elements of urban life are nicely captured in how compact each piece is. The sculptures give off a haulted vibe- it’s as if someone pulled the plug out of life itself and all that’s left is a series of plastic, green shells. See more from the series after the jump. (via)

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Sven Sachsalber Literally Looks For A Needle In A Haystack As Part Of 24 Hour Performance

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While, to most, the phrase “looking for a needle in a haystack” is merely a humdrum idiom, to performance artist Sven Sachsalber, it’s a challenge. That is why Sachsalber opted to devote 24 hours to handpicking his way through a pile of hay set in the Palais de Tokyo. The entire performance was documented as a video on a live feed, and–spoiler alert!–18 hours passed before the artist finally found the elusive bodkin.

While, as in the case of Looking for a Needle in the Haystack, Sachsalber tends to gravitate toward performance art, he also shows an inclination toward sculpture, film, and photography–a fact that is worth noting when considering this recent project.  By placing an enormous haystack within the context of an art museum and filming himself interacting with it, the artist inadvertently transforms the mound into a piece that transcends traditional artistic description.

Galerie Rianne Groen describes his ourvre as “often funny, often serious and sometimes both,” and emphasizes that “his works have a universal poetic element that does not need much explanation.” And, with this literal, almost tongue-in-cheek interpretation of such a tried and true figure of speech, this statement undoubtedly holds true. (Via Hypebeast)

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Art and Fashion Collide In The Psychedelic Dreamscapes Of Marina Fini

Marina Fini - Photography/Design

Marina Fini - Photography/Design

Marina Fini - Photography/Design

At the intersection of fashion, photography, film, stagecraft, and design, artist Marina Fini creates hallucinatory, alternative worlds. Based in California, she collaborates with friends and artists alike in the staging of these otherworldly scenes, using colorful costumes and her own handmade, plexiglass jewelry to turn her photographic subjects into ethereal cyber goddesses. When asked how she builds these characters, Fini remarked, “there’s something about transforming someone into someone they wouldn’t normally be … that is, creating an extension of themselves that I see in them.” All of her characters exude a captivating power, like the whimsical and intangible figures seen through a psychedelic dream. By exploring alternative selves in familiar contexts – a convenience store, or the Californian seaside, for example – Fini explores how subjecthood is fluid, and how such creative “shape-shifting” can alter they way we perceive our immediate reality.

While beautiful, there are also darker and more satirical elements in Fini’s work; in her own words, there’s something compelling about “juxtaposing what we associate as innocent with something horrific or insane.” In her short film Tree Temple, for example, a group of forest sprites — their faces eerily obscured by their colorful hair — dance feverishly around an altar made of Apple computers. Shortly after destroying the altar in their frenzy, they fade into mourning and death. As this film exemplifies, integrated throughout Fini’s scenes are emblems of our contemporary cyber culture — the Apple logo, wifi symbol, hand cursor, and so on. Speaking to this, Fini says that the use of such icons “specifically pokes fun at our internet-obsessed culture,” thereby producing a playful — and sometimes dark — cultural critique of our digitized existences.

In addition to her photographs and videos, Fini is well-known for her aforementioned jewelry, as seen on many of the models in these photos. In pursuit of new projects, she has recently announced that she will be phasing out her jewelry, but her Etsy shop will remain open until mid-January 2015. If you enjoy immersive art and playful reconfigurations of reality, check out the surreal worlds she has created on her website and Tumblr pages.

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The Brush And Can Street Art Of Jaz

Argentinian Street artist Jaz can often be seen at work with an aerosol can in one hand in a brush in the other.  He sprays and blends in a way that makes his work especially expressionistic for street art.  Jaz’ style and process are more often found on the smaller scale of the canvas gallery.  While consciously veering from the typical New York based street art style, Jaz says

“But the main idea about graffiti is to work in the street.  It isn’t about the tools you use of the paradigm of signing your name” [via]

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Malerie Marder’s Powerful Photographs Of Sex Workers

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder’s powerful images of nude women become that much more provocative when a viewer learns that the subjects are sex workers.  Made over the past five years in Amsterdam and Rotterdam Marder sought to capture the diverse population of women in The Netherlands who support themselves and their families through legal prostitution.

The women are, in her words:

“part hallucinatory and part real, [they] intrinsically have a different relationship to their bodies…Women’s bodies hide as much as they reveal.  I thought of Aphrodite, working single mothers, odalisques, adulterers and enigmas…The thought of how they got there was deeply troubling.  My camera was a passport into a gray, hidden world; the result of a liberal society where free will is a question mark.”

Anatomy
is currently on view at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects in New YorkClearly referencing the physicality of the work the exhibition title also plays off Oxford scholar Robert Burton’s encyclopedic tome that was inspired by his recurring bouts of depression, The Anatomy of Melancholy.

With this body of work Marder manages to capture her female subjects as simultaneously objectified and exposed, as well as individualized and empowered, albeit in a unique way.  Their stories are written in their expressions, which are equally as compelling as the fact that they are nude.  Hung salon style, the show should not be missed and runs through December 21.

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Peter Anton’s Realistic Sculptures Will Fool You Into Eating Them

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For those with a sweet tooth, the work of Peter Anton might make you hungry. The artist’s hyperrealistic sculptures of cakes, candies, and ice cream bring the sugary treats to life. At first glance, they pass as real food rather than as convincingly-painted and crafted artworks. “I like to alter and overstate foods to give them new meanings,” Anton writes in an artist statement.

The colorful, larger-than-life works showcase an acute understanding of texture and lighting. Anton was very aware at how luster plays into the believability of his objects. As a result, some of the “frosted” donuts shine just as you’d imagine. In non-glazed objects though, he applies a matte finish.

Anton has an innate reverence for what we eat, and it’s what leads to these works creation. He says:

Food brings people together and there is no better way to celebrate life. Through the use of humor, scale, irony, and intensity in my forms, the foods we take for granted become aesthetically pleasing and seductive in atypical ways. I like to create art that can lure, charm, tease, disarm and surprise. My sculptures put viewers in a vulnerable state so that I can communicate with their inner selves in a more honest and direct way. I activate the hunger people have for the things that give them pleasure and force them to surrender. The sensual nature of the works stimulates basic human needs and desires that generate cravings and passion.

 

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alexander froese’s Bleak Message

Cynical humor and a dash of bleak outlook can be found in the prints of recent OCAD University graduate alexander froese.

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