Things fall apart, they break. Fracture, both material and metaphorical is a part of our lives. In the work of Tim Berg and Rebekah Myers, fracture acts as a unifying principle, unifying themes as diverse as luck, consumption and value. Sometimes something must be broken or fractured in order for us to see its value. This may be especially true for our environment. Only when we see the consequences of our actions do we begin to understand our complicity in fracturing it. So animals like polar bears must persist against the tide, fractured from their environment destined to become just another souvenir of a bygone era.
Sometimes we fracture things in search of something intangible, like breaking a wishbone for luck. These actions present us with an opportunity to conjure up some sense of control over the uncontrollable. We like to think we can control our fortunes through the coercion of objects or rituals hoping luck will favor us and blaming it when circumstances go awry.
Artist Chris Wood likes to exploit the magic of light, and more particularly, the light that passes through glass. Working specifically with Dichroic glass (meaning two color), she installs pieces or shards of the material on walls at different angles, allowing the different color and reflections to play off each other. Arranging the glass in usually geometric, or circular forms, they take on the appearance of futuristic mandalas, or some complex physics experiment. The installations are wildly varied in color, at times the glass is completely transparent and subtle, or can be densely rainbow colored, or even entirely opaque and metallic.
Dichroic glass was actually developed by NASA in the late fifties to protect against harmful effects of direct sunlight and cosmic radiation, and is a very unique material. Due to it’s unique nature, it is a captivating material to work with with unlimited potential. Wood says of her interest in it:
Glass is a material which allows me to exploit the aesthetic potential of light. Minimal structures, support simple arrangements of glass, which interact with light to create complex patterns of light and shade, which change depending upon the position of the viewer and the angle of the light source. (Source)
Wood also works with the Dichroic glass outdoors, setting up quiet installations that play off the reflections and colors of the environment. Favoring water and greenery, she is able to make us look twice at the nature we take for granted around us.
“Hermaphrodite [sex … is] the sex of the angels,” explains Claudette, an intersex sex worker, to the photographer Malika Gaudin-Delrieu. The pair began their collaboration after meeting in Claudette’s native Switzerland, where Gaudin-Delrieu was documenting the country’s legalized prostitution. With her recent series of photographs, the artist elegantly dispels stigma around complex gender identities; as seen through her lens, Claudette is a woman, a husband, and a father.
Ideas on prostitution, a field often associated with the abuse and exploitation of women, is also complicated by the work. Here, sex work is seen as a means of self-actualization and joy; “Claudette is the opposite of a victim. She controls her life, makes her choices clearly and knowingly. She does more than just live her life, she loves it,” says Gaudin-Deirieu of her subject. A courageous activist for sex workers’ rights, our protagonist stands before a dark auditorium, bathed in spotlight, silently inhaling, poised to speak.
Laced throughout the work are subtle moments of love and intimacy. The series, romantically titled La vie en rose (presumably after the love song by Edith Piaf, a prolific French singer who was cared for by sex workers), focuses in part on Claudette’s 52 year marriage to her wife Andrée. Claudette’s quiet warmth and affections, seen in her and Andrée’s sleepy embrace, permeates throughout the entire visual narrative; with the same profound care, she counts her earnings, dresses in lingerie, rubs her neck.
Claudette describes her work as “[assuming the role of] ultimate femininity […] with happiness and a sense of relief,” and her nuanced relationship with her sensual yearning shines through in the images. We follow her as stops in the street, seduced by a lingerie shop window, as she dresses herself, fingering the textured fabrics as they cling to her body. Claudette’s life, as seen through streaming sunlight and soft darkness, is magnetic, alluring, and unexpectedly soothing, and viewers are left to ponder an indescribably complex global sexual and political landscape. What do you think? (via Feature Shoot and HuffPost)
Writer’s note: Gaudin-Deirieu’s work and this post are in no way meant to be taken as a generalization of the lives of sex workers; instead, they are meant to highlight the life an individual. As the artist explains, there are as many views on prostitution as there are people practicing it. For many, it’s a form of abuse; for Claudette, it is not.
The word “hermaphrodite” is usually considered to be offensive, and in no way is this post meant to condone or encourage the use of the word under most circumstances. Here, it is used only because Claudette herself identifies with the word.
MOMO is a street artist working internationally. His pieces can range in size from relatively small to the size of city blocks. It is his style, though that is peculiar. His murals forgo text or figuration in favor of an abstract form. His work often has a deceptively simple composition. MOMO’s technique resembles simple print aesthetics while even referencing mid-century abstract painters.
Radical Friend is a directorial duo comprised of Kirby McClure and Julia Grigorian, which makes colorful music videos, commercials, and films that literally rock your socks off. By combining their obvious love for the wildest aesthetics of the late 70’s and early 80’s with the modern technology of interactivity, Radical Friend have been the only ones to really push the boundaries of how to even conceive of, let alone execute promotional standards like the music video. Their uniqueness is seriously unmatched and while a majority of people may not understand what they’re doing now, they will soon be immersed in the kind of things that Radical Friend probably dreamt of years ago. To get a small taste of Radical Friend’s world, I suggest you watch the pieces in this article and then play around with THIS interactive Black Moth Super Rainbow extravaganza.
If you’re a fan of Maurizio Cattelan you know that he is known for big ambitious installations that are both humorous and conceptually engaging. Sotheby’s will soon be auctioning one of Cattelan’s most famous works, Untitled 2001. This is not an easy work to display as it involves the use of master paintings and a giant hole in the ground. To their credit Sotheby’s went through great pains to present this brilliant work in its natural setting. Sotheby’s isn’t hip to embedded videos just yet but clicking on the image above to watch this behind the scenes install video will be worth the extra lick of the mouse.