I recently had the chance to visit the studio of Jacin Giordano in sunny Miami Florida. Jacin and I went to college together in Baltimore where he received his BFA at Maryland Institute College of Art. He’s been quite busy as of late with shows at Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Miami as well as Galerie Baumet Sultana in Paris. As you can see from the photo above Jacin’s work is incredibly labor intensive. He uses hundreds (if not thousands) of gallons of glue, paint and god knows what else to create paintings and sculptures filled with deep crevasses and caverns waiting to be explored. Here is a sneak peak at his process, studio and his next batch of work for his 2010 solo show at Frederic Snitzer.
Wearing a bright orange dress and armed with scissors, German artist Nezaket Ekici is tethered to the ceiling of a room via her hair. Long ropes act as handcuffs and are tied to the ends of her long brown strands. The only way out? To cut the strings or hair. Her performance, titled Atropos, was first presented in 2006 and again in 2008. It used 100 ropes, 100 hairlines, and 100 pitons (a type of metal spike) and lasted one hour.
We see that during Atropos, strings and hair are cut and dangle over Ekici’s eyes and other pieces of rope. At its core, it’s the act of freeing oneself from the ties (literally) that bind. In a statement about the work, posted on the Celeste Network:
She carries out an act of the self-liberation, while she frees herself with the help of a sissle from long ropes fastened at the roof and to the hair. She cuts off a part of her hair and in this way dissociates herself from a piece of herself. This work can be seen as a vital discussion about the question on the sense of life, that is partly characterised by striving for freedom. Particularly, because hair can be considered as a symbol of life.
This piece’s title comes from the Greek myth of the Moirai who are the goddesses of fate. The statement further explains:
Atropos, who is one of them splits according to the myth the fate threads of the life with a sissle. The artist shows with the radical act of the hair-cut a way out. She takes fate into her own hands and frees herself, like Atropos did. At least the act of the cutting can be seen as an attempt of liberation in itself. (Via Sweet Station)
Stockholm-based Anders Krisár is interested in exploring issues surrounding the human body. Employing realistic casts of body parts Krisár then modifies them. He imbues typical torsos, arms or faces with atypical assets and surreal qualities that are at once quiet and horrific, striking and bizarre.
Evoking a sense of how fragile the human body is, Krisár’s forms stir up feelings of discomfort. Unnatural, ridiculous and sometimes even violent, the sculptures are so successfully disturbing because they are so meticulously executed. Rendered exactly and simply—skin looks like skin, body parts almost appear to be moving and breathing— Krisár’s works are convincing. But at second glance there is always something distinctly wrong. Torsos are freakishly imprinted, headless or morphed. Bodies are severed, separated or broken. Krisár’s works thus become visual representations of the unfeasible. This un-reality gives the pieces a psychological edge.
Beyond the challenge of confronting the bizarre so perfectly portrayed Krisár incorporates ideas of splitting, mirroring and twinning, which are frequent themes in psychoanalysis. Erie yet captivating this psychological aspect gives Krisár’s work the ability to be emotional. Though the work has a quiet quality, its effects are powerful. A viewer’s sense of certainty is challenged and replaced with insecurity, question and an overall awareness that what we know only scratches the surface of what is possible.
Li Jikai is a Chinese artist who makes wonderfully melancholy sculptures and paintings. And even though he is well known in Asia, I had never seen his work before visiting Dialogue Space Gallery’s booth at the LA Art Show – a massive art exhibition being held in the convention center downtown. His piece “Daydream” of a young boy laying on his back and holding his legs against his chest drew me straight towards it, so I battled the waves of artwork at the convention center to get a closer look. And after inspecting the piece and meeting the gallery’s director, I turned the corner and became totally entrenched in Jikai’s world full of lonely characters and heavy symbolism. Especially one piece that I found most interesting of a boy sitting underneath a giant mushroom, because it existed as both a sculpture as well as a painting. According to some online sources Li Jikai is a member of the Ego Generation – a group of Chinese artists born after 1970 who deal with personal matters in their work as opposed to cultural ones. However, it doesn’t really matter if he belongs to that movement or not, since his work is so powerful at expressing its intentions that it doesn’t need to be lumped into a group.
Photographer Ben Hopper‘s “Transfiguration” project transforms his subjects into living sculptures. Each photo is charged with kinetic energy, only heightened by the bold streaks of body paint and splatters of white powder.
“Like a mask, the layers of body paint and powder disguise the identity and release something animalistic from within,” Hopper says. “It also creates a sculptor / painting looking figure, more abstract and less human.”
For his subjects, he chose to work with dancers and circus artists whose athleticism and grace enabled them to contort themselves into the surreal shapes needed. Some of the photographs look like cubist paintings because of the contrast between black, white, and human flesh along with the seemingly impossible angles and feats of flexibility performed by the subjects. The body paint looks almost like strokes of charcoal, creating depth while also the illusion of two-dimensionality.
Michael Leon was born in 1974 in Tampa, Florida, graduated from CalArts in 1997, and is currently based in Los Angeles. He was a co-creator of Commonwealth Stacks, Rasa Libre, and Nike’s Tech Pack. He has contributed design and art direction to Fourstar Clothing, Girl Skateboards, Stussy, DC, Arkitip, and most recently, Nike SB. Throughout the past 20 years, Michael Leon has been influential to the worlds of both design and skateboarding, his style is in a class of its own.