For the Surrealist digital artist Alex Andreyev, reality gives way to the nightmarish and imaginary; his grotesque urban landscapes are dominated by giant spiders, snakes, and eyeballs. Much like the world of The Wachowshi Brothers’ 1999 film The Matrix, Andreyev’s dreamscape is dystopian, seemingly operated by frightful machines that lurk in dark alleyways and within murky, polluted puddles. Like Neo before the rabbit hole, the artist sits at his computer, delving into his nightmares in search of psychological truths that transcend the laws of reality and escape the revelation of daylight.
By maintaining a graphic comic book aesthetic, Andreyev’s images compose a suspenseful, quick-paced narrative; clearly rendered with computer technology, his subjects appear like online avatars, their experiences symbolic of the human condition without directly mirroring it. Like the Surrealists Odilon Redon and Rene Magritte, the digital artist uses the image of the eye to subvert reality; as eyes wearing grotesquely tall top hats chase a helpless man down a dark, dank underground, we viewers are made to perceive our own eyes as villainous, to assume that what they record might not accurately reflect the world around us. Another sketch presents a man slicing his eyes open with a razor, the implication being that to truly see and to understand, we must endure pain and strife.
In this realm where the inner eye takes precedence over superficial vision, a wondrously dark and lonesome creative space begins to emerge. The spider, a symbol which harkens back to the work of Redon in particular, is used here perhaps to represent the isolation of introspection and of the endlessly complex imagination; as a man retreats into his computer, an arachnid nests in the darkness next door. Similarly, man and beast walk alone in the rain. Take a look. (via TrendHunter)
Have you ever wondered what a modern day Bacchus would look like? Or where Hercules and Hera would make out if they lived in a city? Well now you get to visualize it thanks to the imagination and talent of Ukrainian art director Alexey Kondakov. In his series The Daily Life Of Gods, he has photoshopped different classical gods, nymphs, angels and cherubs into various settings and locations we are all familiar with in our age.
We see Romans who sit in the middle of subway stations wearing laurel wreaths and playing the harp, like it is just another ordinary day. A forlorn damsel sits in diner pining over a lost lover, drinking a hot cup of coffee. A scantily clad couple make out on a sidewalk, in the dim street lamp light, surrounded by nosy cherubs. The different scenarios Kondakov has created are oddly surreal. Although they are far fetched, the scenes are not too unfamiliar. The figures, who would appear graceful and ethereal in Renaissance paintings, are, in their new settings, distasteful or tacky. The groups of these mythical figures are almost like drunken party tourists in any modern metropolis; looking like they are causing trouble and up to no good after a Friday night pub crawl.
Kondakov talks about his project a bit more:
….Then I thought, ‘What if I invite these [gods] into our reality and imagine they are on streets of modern Kiev?’ Then I wanted to transform a noisy company of cheerful kids who gathered to spend time together in the city or go to the movies. And in these heroes I saw the work of other artists. ….My project is about life. I really want to avoid talking about the social commentary. (Source)
But however they may seem, Kondakov’s fictional scenarios are definitely amusing, entertaining, and perhaps let us see the street dwellers of our own cities in a different light. (Via We The Urban)
Tattoos, historically, have been on the bodies of sailors and prisoners. It’s only in relatively recent years that they’ve entered mainstream society and lost some of their negative social stigma. Arkady Bronnikov collected photographs of tattooed Russian prisoners between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s. The amount he obtained was massive – 918 images worth – thanks to his position in the government. As a senior expert in criminalistics at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for over 30 years, part of Bronnikov’s duties involved visiting correctional institutions of the Ural and Siberia regions. He interviewed, gathered information, and photographed convicts and their tattoos, which gradually helped him build this comprehensive archive.
The images were later acquired by FUEL, a London-based design group, in 2013. Some of the photographs and official police papers authored by Bronnikov from the Soviet period will be published by FUEL in two volumes, the first of which was just released. Now, they are part of a current exhibition titled FUEL present: Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Filesat Grimaldi Gavin in London until November 22 of this year.
When these photos were taken, Bronnikov wasn’t concerned with composition or style. They were meant to act as a record and served a purely practical purpose. The gallery explains, “Their bodies display an unofficial history, told not just through tattoos, but also in scars and missing digits. Closer inspection only confirms our inability to comprehend the unimaginable lives of this previously unacknowledged caste.”
The geometry of perception is a concept Michael Zelehoski touches on. His work plays tricks with your eye challenging the part of your brain that processes three dimensional forms. What it soon discovers is that Zelehoski is presenting an idea to challenge your notion of a two dimensional object. Not so much an optical illusion as a different way of looking at things, Zelehoski uses common, mostly found structural debris to explore his ideas. Some of the objects he has painted include a twisted police barrier, a pile of wooden planks and the skeletal remains of wooden platforms. He recently created a three dimensional piece depicting a fallen electric tower. The structure was laid out flat on the gallery floor similar to how his paintings look. When shown next to his canvases, it was hard to tell which was real and which was a painting. This further challenges our notion of what is and what should be. It explores ideas which give insight into how perception affects our everyday reality and also tells us we should not take things only at face value.
Rajni Perera’s work is a wondrous fusion of different mythologies, cultures and viewpoints. Her wildly colored drawings combine Hindu imagery, pre-historic animal beasts, galaxy prints produced by the Hubble Deep Field Telescope and the figures of exotic women. She works with techniques and symbols from Indian miniaturist art, Blaxploitation and pop culture references, forming her very own mythology.
Born in Sri Lanka, Perera is drawing on her own immigrant background and her transient state moving between Eastern and Western cultures to illustrate a unique standpoint that it both specific and universal. Her work is an exploration of what it means to be cross cultural in today’s world, and is her trying to dissect those layers in a way she, and us, can understand. A big subject in her work is the representation of female sexuality, and also the presentation of Asian and South Asian cultures in a predominately male Caucasian world. But she says perhaps it isn’t that straight forward.
I don’t know if I really want to make statements about racial prejudice, at least maybe I feel I’ve moved past that in my work. More like I try to make images questioning the projected, or fabricated sexuality behind circulated images (be it on screen, print or the web) of the colored female body in pop culture or otherwise, i.e. ethnic pornography. (Source)
We’ve all seen them- they’re these hyper-stereotypical web images of African girls in beads and wood, Japanese girls in kimonos, and Indian girls in saris; all very subservient, all very saleable; this is my point. There’s something for sale there. (Source)
For Perera the thing that is a common thread connecting Eastern and Western cultures is Kitsch: The idea of culture being re-appropriated by, or passed between, one another. Hollywood and Bollywood are essentially two heads of the same beast, and Perera certainly draws that beast spectacularly.
Via Colossal: “Sculptor Manuel Martí Moreno lives and works in Valencia, Spain and forms these wonderful figurative pieces out of iron nuts. Via email Moreno says that he is most interested in showing the passage of time, the transience of life, and our collective awareness of our own mortality, seemingly evidenced by the spectre of decay at the edges of his works. You can see more images including installation shots on his blog, and also here. If you liked this, also check out the sculptures of Park Chan-Girl.”