Something is not quite right with Nandan Ghiya‘s portraits. Indeed, several are titled Download Error. Ghiya’s antique portraits of upper class men and women from the past seem to be physical manifestations of garbled JPEG files. Each portrait is collaged and each frame carefully modified in a ways that resemble corrupted digital photographs. The now forgotten subjects of these portraits may have sought posterity through these images and the artist seems to communicate this in a familiar visual language of the digital. He uses life documented through JPEG’s, glitches, and error messages to reflect the modern plastic identity.
The Amsterdam-based company NL Architects has proposed a beautiful and “slightly insane” project: a series of luxury hotels resembling amethyst geodes. The unique buildings would all vary slightly in their shapes, sizes, and forms, but their layout would be similar: hallways along the periphery (or shell) of the building that connect to rooms adjacent to the violet, crystalline center. The architects describe this project as “a mutation of the innovative hotel typology as developed by the architect and real-estate entrepreneur John Portman: hotel rooms lining a sensational void” (Source). Portman — who has designed hotels for Hyatt, Westin, and Marriott — is known for his high-rise buildings with interior atria. The Amethyst Hotel is similar in structure, only it has been bisected, thus revealing a spacious and awe-inspiring interior.
The goal of the Amethyst Hotel chain would not only be to produce structures of stunning (and arguably utopian) beauty, but to replicate and harness the well-known positive energies of the violet mineral. Deriving etymologically from an Ancient Greek word meaning “without drunkenness”, amethyst was thought to prevent intoxication. Today, it is still attributed with natural healing powers, and is believed to detoxify the body and mind, helping to cleanse the consciousness from “drunken” (delusional) thoughts. It is also seen as an aid in the treatment of stress, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. While the concept may seem somewhat idealistic and far-fetched, should these effects be simulated in the Amethyst Hotel, NL Architects will have designed a space wherein the geodic form matches and manifests the building’s function: a hotel that fosters both “hospitality and well-being” (Source).
The first Amethyst Hotel would be located on China’s Ocean Flower, a man-made island currently in development. Check out NL Architect’s website for a slideshow explaining their concept and goals for this project. (Via designboom).
In “Sleep of the Beloved,” the photographer Paul Schneggenburger takes 6 hour exposure shots of slumbering, snuggling, writhing couples. The artist asks each pair of lovers to lay their weary bodies on a bed in his own apartment, his dark sheets lit gently by candlelight. The movements of the beloveds, sometimes sweeping and sometimes jolting, are all captured on film.
As the subjects’ fleshy tones and unconscious turning blur the lines between individuals, each couple emerges as a vital, breathing organism; the two appear to move as one, thrusting themselves beyond the confines of the charcoal bed. The long exposure serves to flatten time, creating the illusion of synchronized movement; couples appear as if reaching for one another at one precise moment, as if driven to touch, to bridge the gap between two separate dreamscapes.
Schneggenburger captures lovers at their most vulnerable; in the place of lucid, posed faces, the portraits offer slackened features glazed over by sleep, revealing startlingly intimate communications. As each pair enters into a wordless conversation, they express secret desires with the utmost abandon. Some grab and cling urgently to one another; others press their semi-nude bodies close. Pairs of lovers distance themselves, carving out private, isolated nooks within the bedding.
Each recorded face, filmed over the course of a long night, betrays countless emotions and yearnings. Capturing dreamy moments of peace and restlessness within each single frame, “Sleep of the Beloved” blurs the lines between the erotic, the lonesome, and the blissful, painting a beautifully complex, honest, and raw portrait of love and intimacy. (via Lost at E Minor and Demilked)
The first question Maurizio Savini is asked about his work is one he hates to hear: does he chew every piece of gum he uses to make his sculptures? He admits this question is very annoying, but if everybody is still genuinely interested, then no – no he doesn’t chew the gum. Instead he has two full time assistants unwrapping each stick of gum and melting the pink sticky stuff into layers of usable material. Savini begins his lengthy process by layering the sheets of gum around plaster molds which give his sculptures stability and shape.
Working with the gum for over a decade, he has created some amazing pieces. One sculpture – ‘La Lupa‘ (the figure who nursed the founders of Savini’s birthplace of Rome back to health) is made from 14 kg of chewing gum. He has animals bearing different flags, business men clutching pillows, chandeliers and women’s shoes among many other things. His work is usually loaded with some sort of socially and/or politically focused message.
He says chewing gum has a unique cultural context. It is connected to art history, industry and world history, and is a loaded symbol for Savini. He says after being introduced to Europe when WW2 was ending, the material became a symbol (along with Coca Cola and nylon stockings) of a new era.
When Savini began making his chewing gum sculptures, he has the misfortune of several pieces disintegrating. He now combines the gum with formaldehyde and anti-biotics to preserve it, so the high sugar content doesn’t destroy the pieces. You can see some of his new pieces at the upcoming Art-Southampton, July 9-13, 2015, or find out more about how he makes his creations in the video above.
Though New York based artist, Kiki Smith, works with various kinds of materials, she is most widely known for her sculptures. Kiki works with many topics of which include shame, our relationship to nature, and she is even considered to be a feminist artist. But if you must define what she is “about,” I would say that she is very interested in humanity as natural creatures and our inner conflict with wanting to suppress natural urges. Even when crude, her craftsmanship exhibit so much beauty, that I am always consistently filled with feelings of whimsy.
Marcelo Monreal is a Brazilian collage artist who cracks skulls in the most beautiful way possible. Digitally splitting parts of models and celebrities faces (Christopher Walken and Kate Moss are among them), he fuses beautiful blooms with the broken shapes. Small, colorful flowers grow from behind eye sockets, in the place of noses, and out of mouths. This surreal series is called Faces [UN]bonded.
In Monreal’s opinon, people don’t often tell us who they really are. Instead, they keep parts of their real selves hidden. He opens them up with his collages and reveals the rare moments in which we see the beauty that’s behind their appearance. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Artist Sam Songailo uses bright colors, straight lines, and bold, graphic shapes in his outdoor and indoor installations. Geometric repeating patterns span span floors, ceilings, and walls. Lighting plays a role in his work as it enhances color and gives the work a sense of space and a depth of field. Once the viewer is immersed in the space, all of the elements of Songailo’s work transports them to another place.
Outdoor installations, like the ones on a city street, work with the existing landscape. Songailo’s patterns fill and conform to every inch of the given space like a mutating organism. The high-contrast colors and intricate trellis-like shapes create a disorienting effect. Not so much when viewing it as a whole from above, but walking through it leaves little indication of direction.
Before he started large-scale installations, Songailo was a graphic designer. This is evident in the execution of his work, especially in one of his few indoor installations, Zen Garden (directly above). The piece mimics the lines of sand, with a few “rocks” that are spread throughout the gallery floor. Songailo is able to have full control over the space, and uses principles of design to make it not only attractive, but to effectively transport the viewer to a minimalist, geometric zen garden.