It’s not often that we post about deceased artists but a show about the imaginatvie and bizarre work of surrealist Remedios Varo merits a mention.
The first exhibition of Remedios Varo to ever take place in the western United States, Indelible Fables at Frey Norris illuminates the ever-imaginative and prescient world of this deceased surrealist artist. Spanish born Varo certainly died prematurely, by heart-attack in 1963, but in a short career she had acquired a cult-like following among friends in Mexico City, her adopted home. Many of these friends were involved in an informal investigation into esoteric religion and the teachings of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff and his student Peter Ouspensky. As part of this soteriological pursuit, with close friend, the celebrated English artist Leonora Carrington, Varo created some of the most inventive painted scenarios of any of the artists associated with surrealism. Varo would remain something of a marginalized, but popular figure in Latin American art right through the 1990’s, when a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC elevated global awareness of her work and in part catalyzed an ever accelerating level of scholarship and market demand. View the show at Frey Norris from January 19th-February 25th.
The artwork of James Payne is a visceral microcosm of xerox fuzz and highlighter smears. He is currently the co-curator of the seminal midwest noise space and art gallery; Skylab, has had a chap book of his poetry published by Monster House Press entitled “Austerity Pleasures”, is the lead singer of the punk band Lose the Tude, and continues to self publish a myriad of zines, comics, and exhibition catalogues.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Greg Funnell’s interview with Photographer Andrew Youngson.
Andrew Youngson’s series, The Devil’s Garden, documents Bedouin communities living amidst Second World War minefields in Egypt’s Western Desert. It is estimated that approximately 17 million unexploded anti-personnel and anti-tank mines; artillery shells; bombs dropped by aircraft and machine gun, small arms and mortar rounds remain beneath the sand.
The Western Desert is an area rich in natural resources but whereas areas allocated for luxury beach resorts and Petroleum Company compounds have been cleared of unexploded ordnance, Bedouin land has not benefited from such programmes. Official records of incidents involving UXO have not been kept until recently but it is believed thousands of Bedouin have been killed or injured since the end of the Second World War.
Youngson is based in London and his new book, Aida, will be published by Black Box Press in July 2012.
Spanish photographer Esther Lobo‘s series of photographs known simply as Rorschach delves boldly into the idea of symbolism. She creates Rorschach Test type images using food items on a disposable plate. Lobo folds the plate to create a bisymmetrical image and places the food item at the center of the image. Rorschach Tests were psychological tests especially popular in the 1960’s that asked subjects to give interpretations of images. These interpretations would be understood as symbols of underlying psychological conditions. It’s perhaps appropriate that Lobo decided to use food as a medium for her Rorschach Tests. Perhaps no other daily item is so invested with symbolism, memory, and ritual as food and meals. [via]
Dutch art collective WE MAKE CARPETS create a contemporary interpretation of the centuries-old medium of carpets but with the weaving method, materials, and patterns reflect the 21st century. At a distance, you simply see a decorative carpet. Closer inspection will, however, surprise you as WE MAKE CARPETS uses everyday items to create large carpets.
Products that normally have no value once they have been used, such as plastic forks, plasters, paving tiles, pasta, cotton balls and pegs are arranged in an inventive way to form a graphic pattern. WE MAKE CARPETS are inspired by the color, shape and possibilities of the discarded and cheap materials. The result is not just a decorative carpet, but an object that makes us think about the consumer society that produces these ‘weaving materials’.
A million little pieces stitched together shapes a large moving tapestry. The waves of the installation, similar to chainmail, create a voluptuous presence. Artist El Anatsui is mesmerizing our senses and attracting our curiosity. He designs from simple materials complex compositions, using all sorts of tools to merge modest means into powerful and impressive pieces. In between sculpture (for the structure) and painting (for the way colors drop from different angles), the delicate and monumental pieces cannot be categorized.
El Anatsui’s work emphasizes the fact that art is a sixth sense, an add-on and a value that’s indescribable. From liquid bottle caps, iron nails, driftwood or cassava graters the artist creates morphing mosaics that are hung up the walls of monuments and museums in major cities. Seen from far away, the meticulously assembled little pieces become an accumulation of gems. Each installation is non fixed and can be moved from one place to another without ever having the same appearance. Just like fabric, the piece is creased, folded and adjusted to its in-situ set.
The artist’s impact on one hand is for the viewer to reflect on obvious key topics such as consumption, waste and environment. The bottle caps or the tin lids that he uses represent simultaneously garbage and manpower, thinking of that while he creates helps him give a spiritual dimension to his art.
On the other hand, the pieces help make a connection between America, Africa and Europe. The fact that the installations are hung questions the part of a wall as sequestration, protection or deprivation from freedom.
“Artists are not dictators”, El Anatsui claims loud and clear next to his pieces. He doesn’t want to impose an idea because everyone’s point of view is valid.
The artist was awarded in April 2015 at the Venice Biennale with a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Watch the video below of one of the greatest artistic influencer amongst two generations of artists working in West Africa.
Speaking of “festering goodness/grossness”, check out these music videos directed by artist, pervy collage-ist, animator and I guess sort of a Japanese equivalent of Paper Rad, Sekitani Norihiro. They’ll be sure to accompany you into seizures induced by metal death, mashed sound bits and flailing bloody organs. Also be sure to get a good look at the artwork on Sekitani’s site (which is hosted on Geocities, RIP Geocities free hosting!).