Japanese designer and all around nice guy Susumu Fukuzaki just sent us a cool little book of us work that he calls his “new anthology” on his blog. Some fairly unusual work…I’m sort of at a loss as for any possible references to describe it. It sort of reminds me the kind of stuff the Church of the Subgenius or Negativland did in the 1990s.
Like floating into a dream, Jason Mitchell’s photography takes you into a new place of existence, stuck between worlds. His series Dream Away displays ghostly bodies in a different state of being, exploring a sense of awakening. Inspired by metamorphosis, his figures are placed in a blank space, not knowing exactly where they are except for in a place of uncertainty. Even still, they seem tranquil and ready for whatever is to come next. Each image contains an ethereal quality, as the figures delicately glide through the air. In this series, we cannot tell if Mitchell’s figures are falling or floating, as there is no sense of direction, like they are underwater. With bright whites and light shadows, the absence of almost all harsh shadows creates an angelic atmosphere around these women.
Hinting at themes of afterlife and a higher state of being, Mitchell’s figures almost do not appear to be human. They are transcending their bodies on a journey of oneself.
“I ask my subjects to explore a loss of control, but a sense that they are being guided, pushed and pulled by another sentient being, as they make their way to a new self. They represent the soul of a magical creature on a journey through the limbo that connects their past understandingto this new unknown.”
– Jason Mitchell
Although all of Mitchell’s work holds a striking beauty, his series Dream Away truly exhibits stunning detail and imagery. Photographs from this majestic series will be on view at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco, CA until May 30th.
Beautiful/Decay has teamed up with MSTRKRFT & SPRFKR to present a creative giveaway. All you have to do is send us your COOLEST drawing of two dudes sporting mustaches and shades! You can draw MSTRKRFT if you want- or any other two guys sporting this incognito look. Three lucky winners will receive a MSTRKRFT prize package of a SPRFKR poster & MSTRKRFT’s latest cd, “Fist of God.” Winning submissions will also be featured on the Beautiful/Decay blog! So get creative- submissions can be digital, painted, crocheted, Bento boxes, whatever!
Sneak peak of a part of the front cover for issue:1
Everyone has been asking us what we’ll do after Issue Z. In our tradition of innovation, Beautiful/Decay will reinvent itself in a brand new, expanded format with Issue 1 in July.
Beginning as a hand-photocopied, black and white ‘zine over ten years ago, Beautiful/Decay has always proudly put artists—and quality content—first. We are re-launching Beautiful/Decay to have all the benefits of traditional magazine subscribership, while taking the form of an expanded, limited edition, more voluminous publication.
In keeping with the spirit of our independent DIY philosophy, we have decided to break the mold of traditional magazines and change the way we do business. In this economy, most publications are either going out of business or watering down their content to appease advertisers. Rather than conform to the publishing industry’s new rules, we’ve decided to create our own business model that allows us to flourish and increase the quality of our content.
One thing we’ve always disliked about the mainstream print industry is that it can be wasteful. Newsstands throw away all unsold magazines, averaging a 40-60% waste rate. In keeping with our commitment to staying green, Beautiful/Decay will instead send issues straight into the hands of subscribers, rather than dumpsters.
Here’s what the new B/D will look like:
• Eliminated ALL traditional advertising
• Made an 50% increase in page count, meaning 164 pages of pure, unfiltered content
• Features now have double the page space, with more full-color images & articles
• Articles now run 16-20 pages, providing some of the most in-depth coverage of emerging artists available today
• Released in limited edition format of only 1,500-2000 copies, each one hand numbered
• Each issue comes with a limited edition collaborative artist projectranging from inserts, stickers, posters, to original artwork
• Presented in new format & size, including French flaps and multiple printing processes within
• Released 3 times a year (once every 4 months)
To celebrate our new expanded format, Issue 1 will feature a hand-drawn, original artwork by previously B/D featured artist Kyle Thomas. These will sell out, as we already have 1000 subscribers on our list so be sure to subscribe in order to reserve your copy.
I hope that you’re all as excited about this as we are at Beautiful/Decay. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new direction.
In a place usually left to stillness and silence, black waters churn ceaselessly. Anish Kapoor, a London-based artist known for his sculptural installations using stainless steel, PVC, and other media, has created a whirlpool beneath the wooden floorboards of a former movie theater in San Gimignano, Italy. With a spine-tingling power that seems to suck your gaze to the center of the earth, the vortex pulls endlessly downward into a lightless void. Darkly beautiful and hypnotic, the waters evoke feelings of both admiration and fear. Appealing to the fascination we have for black holes and infinite space, Kapoor has created an existential zone of disturbing liminality, a place which exists between presence and absence, here and there. Speaking of his fascination for spatial emptiness in the press release, Kapoor explains:
“All my life I have reflected and worked on the concept that there is more space than can be seen, that there are void spaces, or, as it were, that there is a vaster horizon. The odd thing about removing content, in making space, is that we, as human beings, find it very hard to deal with the absence of content. It’s the horror vacui. This Platonic concept lies at the origin of the myth of the cave, the one from which humans look towards the outside world. But here there is also a kind of Freudian opposite image, that of the back of the cave, which is the dark and empty back of being. Your greatest poet, Dante, also ventured into a place like that. It is the place of the void, which paradoxically is full – of fear, of darkness. Whether you represent it with a mirror or with a dark form, it is always the ‘back’, the point that attracts my interest and triggers my creativity.” (Source)
By creating this zone of dread — a vacuum of inverted reality that threatens our mortal existences with its apparent soullessness — Kapoor’s whirlpool unveils a special form of significance. The whirlpool is a world “which is paradoxically full,” for instead of beauty and safety, we are confronted with a vital impulse: a void brimming with life-affirming fear that destabilizes our constructions of reality. The whirlpool evades all concrete meaning by always moving, existing beyond our knowledge, troubling us with the notion of infinite absence.
KOFTA is the brain child of Kiev based designer Konstantin Kofta. In his collections Hug, Born, Roots, he experiments with leather manipulation to produce surrealistic and elegant garments, accessories and wearable items. His pieces imitate body parts and look like they are extensions of the person wearing them. Including backpacks that mimic torsos, bags with raised vertebrae, straps with hands attached ‘holding’ onto the wearer’s shoulders, and shoes that look like feet, Kofta’s designs are delicately gothic. He describes his inspiration for the Hug collection further:
From birth, we try to stand up and take our first steps. We yearn to touch and be touched and to feel sensations for the first time. We can perceive objects with an unclogged consciousness. Pure perception without comparison. We know nothing other than that which we can see and feel… Spirit does not have form, but some forms can have spirit, vibration does not have a color but color can have vibration, mood does not have a texture, but textures can have a mood. In this collection we focus for the first time more on feelings than just on physical forms and we have created forms, colors and textures according to these sensations… (Source)
Designing with a emphasis on sensuality, Kofta loves to tease out an emotional response to his designs. He combines the unintentional and unexpected to produce durable, unique and wearable pieces of art. Kofta designs with the intention of adding unusual components to a person’s lifestyle, not just their wardrobe, and I would say his pieces achieve a lot more than that.
Jerry Kearns’ new work meditates on the construction of images post-9/11. The stark blue sky found in all of the paintings sets the mood as surreal and stands in for the strange blue sky behind the Twin Towers after the attack. Kearns explores various ways of representing the present body by subverting notions of masculinity and strength with both feminine and androgynous signifiers.
The sculptures and installations of MyeongBeom Kim are very dreamlike – it makes just enough sense to prevent you questioning it. Objects transform into other objects, other inexplicably float, and yet others are designed to be entirely useless. Yet, somehow, it all seems right. Also like dreams, Kim’s work is playful but not without out a latent sense of anxiety. A noose, a crutch, an axe suggest a possible dark turn toward realized fears, a nightmare.