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Behind the Scenes Look At Salvador Dali’s Bizarre Photograph “Voluptuous Death’ (NSFW)

Salvador Dali & Philippe Halsman - Photography

Salvador Dali & Philippe Halsman - PhotographySalvador Dali & Philippe Halsman - Photography

In 1951, surrealist artist Salvador Dali teamed up with photographer Philippe Halsman to create In Voluptas Mors or Voluptuous Death. A black and white photograph, this image is simultaneously strange, complex, and alluring. It features a giant “skull,” a living picture that is made up of seven nude female models that took three hours to arrange and photograph. The final product has the artist standing next to the skull, looking like the ring leader of a circus. And, in many ways, he is.

Additional photos have recently surfaced that reveal some behind-the-scenes moments of In Voluptas Mors. Not only do we see the apparatuses needed to hold the models, but we see how the skull was constructed with bodies. From the looks of it, there was a process of getting one section of the skull situated and balanced. This would repeat until the structure was stable enough to be captured on film.

In Voluptas Mors was not the first time that Dali and Halsman collaborated, nor was it the last. They originally met in 1941 and worked together over the course of 30 years.  All of their efforts were eventually published in a 1954 compendium titled Dali’s Mustache, an homage to the artist’s facial hair. Check out the upcoming exhibition at The Musée de l’Elysée, which runs from January 29 until May 11, 2014 to see these images in person.

(Via Huffington Post and Film’s Not Dead)

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Saski And Wingårdhs Pavillion Installation Made From 700,000 Sheets Of Paper

Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh and Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi have teamed up to produce a massive installation for the 2013 Stockholm Furniture Fair. The project consists of 700,000 illustrated sheets of A3 paper and 44,000 suspension points. The result is a vibrant mosaic of art and design. In Kutsaa Saksi’s own words: “I’m fascinated by architecture and antique ceiling paintings in temples all over the world, and the way they’ve attracted people to share their thoughts and ideas. I’ve wanted to create a similar aesthetics, mixed with orientalism, art, mathematics, science and psychedelia, by depicting communication as Darwinistic evolution. Constantly on the move and a work in progress, like bacteria and marine animals when they crawled out of the depths of the sea millions of years ago.”

Watch a time lapse  video of the installation being built after the jump! (via)

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Bryan Christie

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Inspired by the recent photography book Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, commercial illustrator Bryan Christie has begun posting some new recreations of NYC storefronts on his blog. The illustrations are done in his familiar style – very slick and clean 3D stuff, which creates an interesting disconnect from these stores’ urban environments. There are three of them so far, hopefully more to come.

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Stunning Photographs Prove That Bees Are Beautiful

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In the past years, bee populations have been devastated by something scientists are calling Colony Collapse Disorder, causing a global crisis for humans and other animals. Sam Dreoge, a biologist at U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, catalogs hundreds of bee species in his lab. As the head of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, Dreoge produces stunning high-resolution images that capture the diversity and spellbinding beauty the fascinating and helpful little creatures.

Dreoge’s photographs, which are used to identify and track bee populations, are often magnified up to five times the actual size of the insect. Focusing on minuscule details normally only visible under a microscope, most of the pieces are composites of numerous images, shot at multiple ranges with a 60 millimeter macro lens. Each image is also carefully edited, scrubbed of specks of dust. In preparation for the photo shoots, each bee specimen undergoes a bath in warm water and dish soap, after which they are carefully blow-dried to showcase their astoundingly beautiful, vibrant hair.

Dreoge’s images of bees read like the technological age’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci, who studied and sometimes killed insect specimens for the dual purpose of art and science. Research like this always raises ethical flags, but that moral question becomes more complicated when we are confronted with environmental crises like CCD. Bee populations are effected by parasites as well as problems caused by humans, like pesticides and climate change; it’s imperative that we find a way to save these miraculous animals, and Dreoge’s work could go a long way. What do you think? (via Smithsonian and Colossal)

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Elizabeth Zvonar’s Collages And Sculptures Contemplate The Body’s Sexualized Relationship With Advertising

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“Legs”. Digital LightJet print of a hand-cut collage (2007).

Elizabeth Zvonar - Sculpture

“This A Way”. Porcelain, custom glaze. 4 finger casts, 14″ (2013).

Elizabeth Zvonar - Collage

“Tulip”. Digital LightJet print of a hand-cut collage (2010).

Elizabeth Zvonar - Sculpture

“Cummy Loubous” (detail). Porcelain, custom glaze. 8.5″ pair of Mary Jane-style stiletto shoes (2013).

Elizabeth Zvonar is a Canadian artist whose collages and sculptures encounter us as objects of curiosity and contemplation. Her choice of mediums is vast, including brass, stone, porcelain, and hand-cut collage, but no matter what she creates, Zvonar’s work is tied together by a consistent style that is tactfully sexual, critically engaged, and subtly humorous. Her motifs include multiplicities of disembodied hands and fingers, magazine cutouts juxtaposing seductive imagery with the silly or strange, and high-fashion objects (such as porcelain high heels) splattered with a suggestive, white glaze. These works grab our attention and activate our minds, and this is precisely their intention. As Zvonar expresses in a fascinating interview with Here and Elsewhere,

“I like to make things strange and interesting to look at in order to engage. My method is tied to how advertising operates. I tend to use sex blatantly or metaphorically, mimicking advertising strategies [and] pushing the image/concept/work into unfamiliar territory.”

In this process of defamiliarization, Zvonar’s works become perceptual exercises in the effects of familiar and manipulative advertising imagery — the types of images that, as Zvonar acutely points out, inundate our waking lives “should one have their eyes open when walking down a street or in line at a grocery store” (Source). By removing idealized bodies and coveted material objects from their usual, seductive contexts and reconfiguring them in a socially aware manner, Zvonar’s creations cleverly critique the way fashion media and advertising operate on us by fragmenting and sexualizing the body.

Check out Zvonar’s website for a larger collection of her works, including a list of past exhibitions. If you’d like to learn more about her artistic themes and creative processes, I highly recommend reading the interview conducted by Here and Everywhere.

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Beautifully Intricate Sculptures Made Of Paper And Wire

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Edinburgh-based artist Polly Verity creates detailed and intricate sculptures out of paper and wire. Most of her subjects are animals or mythological creatures and the size of her sculptures range from palm to life sized. The wire for the sculptures is built up into a 3D frame and this becomes the contour and outline of the creature. The wires are joined together through wrapping and pinching; no heat is applied to forge the wire. She then applies wet fine paper that she first sizes with glue onto the structure. The paper dries and tightens up while formed on the frame. Her creations are usually kept encased in a glass dome or box for protection and display.

In addition to these incredible sculptures, Verity also creates geometric origami paper art and wearable paper art. Her ability to meticulously create such delicate and intricate designs out of basic and simple tools like paper and wire is impressive. Be sure to check out her Flickr page for more photos, including some of a project she worked on with her brother involving the sculpting of crumpled tissue paper organs.

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Carsten Höller’s Interactive Installations

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Carsten Höller’s work intends “to trigger the organic responses that underpin the structure of learned behavior, to unbalance the rational mind…Using his training as a scientist in his work as an artist, Höller’s primary concerns relate to the nature of human perception and self-exploration. He has undertaken many projects that invite viewer participation and interaction while questioning human behavior, perception, and logic. His “laboratory of doubt,” embodied in objects ranging from carousels and slippery slides to upside-down goggles, often contains playful, hallucinatory or darkly humorous overtones in order to provoke experience and reflection.” – from Gagosian Gallery. Read more about Höller’s work and his 2011 exhibition at the New Museum here.

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Hidden Faces in Johnson Tsang’s Stainless Steel Spill Sculptures

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The sculptures of artist Johnson Tsang are unbelievably realistic.  That is, until you spot faces in the spilling liquid.  Primarily working in ceramic and stainless steel, Tsang’s sculpture’s seem to be caught like photographs.  Liquids spill from mugs, streams intersect, and crash to the ground.  Hidden by Tsang in the flow, however, are faces.  Two colliding streams of liquid are actually faces mid-kiss.  His work emphasizes a temporality – time as it quickly passes and their memories.  [via]

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